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Belle Rose

Chapter Text


 

The girl took a deep breath before opening her eyes again. She shared her gaze between the high polished building and her own reflection on the phone screen. With a tightened heart, she realized it was finally happening. This was her new reality.

Laura Belrose was your simple and average girl from the big outside world, now giving her first steps into a new life in Paris, France. Being a thin brown girl with shiny gray eyes and dryed blonde hair, Laura would never describe herself as lucky, because she wasn't. She grew in a place that hated her, learned to deal with the worst independent from her family wealth.

Wealth that allowed her to be there in first place.

Miranda Belrose was the name of her mother. A single woman who was a perfect mother and a excellent lawyer. Due to her successful cases, Miranda was summoned by the Itamaraty for a permanent job in France to solve difficult cases in the government’s name. Now, because of their "small" French heredity it wasn’t very difficult to settle in the capital, she just needed to learn a little more about the language to get along.

But moving was a difficult task.

Even though it all happened in the pass of six months, there was no time to catch a break between the news delivery and the actual moving. Laura wasn't ready, even tho she tried to appear positive in front of her mother, only seeing the brunette's excitement in response. But between all that - the news, the preparations, the final tests, and the moving itself - there was emptiness. She was happy, of course, but changing so fast wasn't exactly what she wanted.

In a monochromatic vision, the city of lights seemed too dark.

"I guarantee this will be the best time of your life, love." she heard her mother saying in an excited tone. Laura sighed in surprise and looked at herself again. Her curly hair was mostly hidden inside the woolen cap. When she felt nervous, she would usually wrap the few loose strands of the hair between her fingers to distract herself. Oh, her heartbeat was going insanely fast at that moment. Laura had many sides of her personality, but being that tense wasn't part of it.  

At the entrance, the two were greeted by an old bearded man called Mr. Damocles who was highly excited to met them. It was fast to learn that he was the principal, because he wouldn't shut his mouth to brag about it. His speaking was so hard to understand from an naked hearing that Laura started to curse under her breath, almost begging with a desperate expression to him slow down.

With all of that, she almost didn't notice that the bigger part of the school was an open-air courtyard.

The two adults were too busy talking about Laura's registration to notice the girl wandering around. The school was actually a huge place, probably twice the side of her original school. She turned around to see a new adult joining the discussion, this time being a redhead woman using the teacher’s official white coat. She introduced herself as the literature teacher, saying almost immediately that she recognized Laura from the register documents.

“You can call me Mme. Bustier. It’s nice to meet you.”

On the other side, the students were watching the scene, and she was equally watching them. From afar, they seemed very normal. By that means, they were doing normal things, such as talking and laughing. One thing that comforted her was to see was the absence of school uniforms between them. The outfit choice was completely free, even some exaggerations were visible to see. This made her relax with her own clothes: a tight red blouse, ripped black trousers, black leather jacket and short-barreled red boots. A little bit punk, but overly nice.

This is such a beautiful place!” Her mother said out loud, calling her attention back. “Think about how many friends you can make here!” 

Mom!” she cried not very loud, burying her hands in the face in embarrassment.  

But I'm right! And look at how things here are in place, it looks new! " Miranda's umber eyes were shining. "Excuse me, Mr. Damocles, has this school gone through any recent changes?” 

"Yes, miss Belrose. Françoise Dupont underwent a number of reforms that allowed her to stay until the end of high school." Damocles said with a loud tone of pride. 

"My love, this place is magnificent! Doesn’t that make you happy that this is going to be your new college?" She let out a surprised gasp from her lungs. The older woman was really impressed with the place, so much the excitement could be compared with a weird acting, but it wasn't. Miranda was like that.

"Yeah..." Laura managed to say in a somehow lively tone, forcing a smile on her face. All of that situation was stressful and having her mother acting like she was the new student was a little cringy.

"Class will start tomorrow, and we will be more than happy to host another student at our institution." Bustier said with a tender smile, handing a box to Laura. "Here, the schedule and school tablet. It’s all necessary and it will help you get into the classes with the right foot." 

Miranda looked curious at the red-haired woman. "You're going to be my daughter's French guide, correct?" 

"Yes, the consulate sent us a letter about Laura's case.” Bustier spoke in remembrance of the recommendations. She put a hand in Laura’s shoulder. “Do not worry, with our help you'll soon be speaking French as a Parisian."

Laura raised a brow. Was that supposed to cheer her up? 

"I hope, because I'm putting all my trust onto you!" Miranda raised her arms and embraced Caline in a really tight hug. The teacher didn't reacted for a brief moment, too stunned to even think about the sudden body contact, but accepted the hug for that brief moment. "Sorry, it's just the force of habit."

"Mom..." Laura called in irritation, interrupting the scene. For a few minutes the two began to speak in their native language, somewhat confusing both officials. There were some words similar to French, but the accent was so drawn that even the similarities were confused, but the word problem was clear in the air.

After the momentary discomfort, Miranda turned to them. "Tomorrow she'll be here." 

"Perfect!" Mr. Damocles shook both Belrose's hands, thanking them for the choice - even though they did not shrink. "We'll see you tomorrow, Miss Belrose." 

 


 

In the doorway, Laura slowed down, knowing that her mother would get the car to go to the consulate to solve other problems. it was going to be a busier day than she'd imagined. Without realizing it, she became distracted by the floor drawings, unable to get away from the girl who wasn’t paying attention hurrying into the building. They hit each other and fell to the ground. 

Pain. That's what she felt. For a second the blonde thought she had been knocked over by a bull so strong it felt like breaking the bones on her chest. In a slight dizziness, she shook her head and looked at the other person. 

Laura's eyes widened. Wow. 

Blue. The first thing she saw was blue. It was a girl. A bluenette girl with bluebell eyes, wearing a brown spencer, a pink blouse with floral details, long blue jeans, and pink sneakers. She looked so... Out of place, with her hair up in a ponytail, the dark eyeshadow and the collars on her neck, one pink backpack and purse. Out of place, really.

The girl looked stressed out, but got in shock when finally realized what happened. The papers were stuck in a briefcase, so they didn't spread around. She was the first to get up, raising her hand to help Laura. When she touched the pale hand, they both felt a warmth in contrast to the cold concrete. 

"Are you okay? Did you hurt yourself?" She asked, but there was no answer. Laura felt her throat close, tension pressing her shoulders down, she managed to nod somehow, but the hands could not keep the touch for long. “I’m sorry, I was really late to a thing and I didn’t saw you...” 

"It’s okay! T-Thanks.” She said almost in a whisper. Too fast to think of anything. She was out of ideas. She thought to respond something else, but the moment was interrupted by her mother's car honk. She shook her head positive and turned away, walking swiftly up the steps until she reached the Renault Clio, leaving the girl confused and herself frustrated. 

Chapter Text

 

At suburban areas, there was always this idealization about Europe and how it was a cultural masterpiece of architecture and art, a huge amusement park at open skies. A place where dreams could come true. The rule of imagination was simple: it was either somewhere at Europe or United States.

It was a lie, of course. It was too attractive to be realistic. Even as a dream it sounded pathetically silly. Almost at the same level as Santa Claus is for children. Opportunity was almost extinct there for a normal citizen, imagine for a nobody outsider?

Magic didn't existed, after all. Those dreams were only part of fairy tales, even if they seemed so attractive until the latest days. Because yeah leaving her country sounded so much good on paper, but it was her home. Her dumpster fire. No one else's. Paris was just another city, a small city in a small country in a small continent who happens to be the one that helped thrown more fire into her dumpster.

But then, two things happened.

One was a year before where magic proved itself to be real and the other was a few weeks ago when her mom announced they were moving to Paris, the very same place where magic proved itself to exist.

It was school time when the topic came back. Laura sighed as she watched her friends jumping around her in complete euphoria. They were in their lunch break, walking around the corridor when she accidentally brought up the topic. Things escalated too quickly and she was forced to talk about the moving. They were happy, of course. The american dream was a thing that could be applied for almost all rich countries towards them. 

And you are leaving in weeks?! That’s amazing!” Amanda didn’t even try to hide her excitement. Her hands were shaking as she moved her feet, dark hair moving around her shoulders as her head moves. “I’m going to miss you so freaking much, but Paris is like, a dream, and you’re going to live the dream! I’m so happy for you, Lala!” 

Thanks.” she croaks out, still trying to digest what she just heard. “Don’t get so hyped up about it, it’s just luck.” 

The BEST kind of luck!” Amanda screamed in return. 

Hmm, your family is french, right?” Sofia turned around, her mouth filled with tuna. “I remember your grandpa yelling at me in that fancy language. It was weird because you guys weren’t rich so...” 

Don’t be rude, girl!” Amanda snapped, taking the tuna sandwich from her hands and eating it. 

I can’t believe you did that-!” the brunette screamed with fake rage, obviously laughing. 

Bite me! But anyway, isn’t Paris the one with the ladybug magic girl thing?” Amanda remembered. “Oh my, you are going to live in the same place these two guys jump around fighting rainbow clowns! That’s batshit crazy. It’s everyday hype time!” 

Oh, and there was that superhero thing. For some reason—that she knew very well why—the embassy was incredibly worried about them. Like they were some kind of evil butterfly trap. Humans have emotions, it’s wasn’t their fault a crazy man was being a jerk because of some jewelry. If there was any akuma there, it would probably go into that awful secretary who doubted her id card validity and was almost sued by her mother. 

For what I can say, these guys are possessed and just fly around with weird hyper fixations over something.” Sofia brought her back with the statement. It was terrifying at first. They were happening in Paris? Only in Paris? What if they crossed oceans? What if it was a terrorist act? Oh, she sure remembers the collective panic that remained in the news headlines for weeks. “Just like the bandits from here. In a weird look, nothing will actually change, just places, and that’s a lot.” 

Yeah, I think you guys are right. Maybe this is just a restart.” she let a smile cross her face for the first time. She didn’t really believe in that words, however. 

The restart that you didn’t wanted, but maybe the one you needed.” Amanda gave her a sympathetic look. “It’s going to be fine, trust us.” 

I Really wish I could, girls.” Laura repeated as she saw the sunlight through the car’s window.

Deep breath. Closed eyes.

The morning of her first day at school had finally come. 

The night before was a strange experience. On television, the topic about superheroes was infectious, they were treated like real celebrities and that was quite scary at some point. They only did it because of the butterfly man, newspaper anchor!. And her mother questioning about other news did not help. They had roast beef for dinner, at least that was cool. 

Sleeping was difficult. Anxiety crawled her back and made her roll over the bed nervously many times. The moon was bright and she wondered when she would see the snow coming. She would have to wait a long time, and by then she would go through many things. 

She remembered the students, the teachers, the girl. Everything made the next day a waterfall of possibilities. It was not the first time his own thoughts had served to disrupt his sleep. With that, she only slept after eating half a pot of pastiche ice cream with a dose of Rozerem

And there she was, inside the car going to school after waking up dizzy and almost falling in the ground during the shower. She was wearing the same clothes as yesterday, and Miranda was in her work suit. They would only see each other at night, but the silence between them was comfortable now. Her mother was humming some music from the radio, tapping her fingers in rhythm as she followed the route. Laura pulled the phone from her backpack, putting on her headphones so she could be distracted from her thoughts. 

It would be a long, almost one-hour trip from Crécy-la-Chapelle (a small commune chosen by the consulate for their residence) to the French capital. She wasn’t accustomed yet to the time zone and because of this she ended up falling asleep for most of the time. Sleeping with Ride and waking up with Redbone, she felt a certain irony in her playlist. It was a good nap. When she woke up, they were already closer to the building. 

Dear, you remember the class number, right?” 

Hm, yeah, I do...” she said still rubbing her eyes. “Class 3e-1. It’s one of the first after that corridor.” 

Great! We are here.” she turned the car around the corner and when she stopped, they were already in front of Françoise Dupont. “Well... Before you go, listen to me.” 

Laura was already crossing the bench to leave, but stopped when she realized the trembling tone of her mother's voice. As he looked at her, he saw gray eyes brighter than usual. There was a tender smile on his face, a light breath. 

"I'm so proud of you, Laura.

"Mom...

"No, seriously, I'm sorry. You've gone through so much before in silence, and you’ve have come so far since then. I’m just happy we can do things again in a new place, and being clean with it... You are my child, and I'm proud of having you with me, being happy here.

Damn. Laura felt like crying. The impact of those words was always strong. She wanted a normal life, live like a normal girl. Her mother fought so hard to be where she was now, Laura couldn't help but feel the truth coming from her only family. She squeezed her hands around the backpack before tossing it aside and advancing to the driver's seat to hug the older woman. "I want to see you happy, Mom.

"And I want to see you happy, dear.

"I love you.

"I love you too.

Laura left the car feeling the autumn breeze hit her pants rips. Hair swinging, people walking, she let herself go. 

And Laura,” She turned to the open crack in the window, seeing her mother’s gray eyes looking directly at her. “Don’t let anybody put you down.” 

Laura smiled and made a positive gesture with her hands. 

 


 

Of course, her mother's words made her soft. She went up to the stairs as she tried to overcome the urge to cry, nonstop smiling, and didn’t even realize that her presence had caught the attention of the people around. 

“Oh my, is that a newbie?”, “She looks like a transferred.”, “Ah! Jeanne, look at her eyes!”, “Misa, she can hear you!”, “I hope so, she’s pretty!”, “She is not from here, that’s for sure.”. “Maybe she is related with that other one?”, “Are you insane?” 

It took a while to make the murmurs audible. Her heartbeat slowed down, and she finally saw the people looking at her. No, not today. They could talk what they wanted to, but no one was allowed to mess with her mood today. She breathed hard, the wet in her eyes drying out more quickly. Her legs rose to the staircase of the rooms, and at faster steps she made her way to class 3e-1. 

Caline was already waiting for her at the front door of the room. For context, it was still five minutes before the signal hit, but the recommendations all told to make Laura's stay the best possible – all because of Mr. Damocles's fear of being sued by the girl's mother and receiving some punishment from the government because of politics. Two cases were enough for last year, there was no need for one more. 

His worried gaze cleared when he saw the girl coming up the stairs with an expression of curiosity. 

Laura turned off the music and took off the headphones, waving friendly to the teacher. "Good morning miss, did I arrive late?" 

Bustier looked at his wristwatch. "No, you've arrived just in time. Please stay here before I introduce you." 

Laura nodded. 

“Good morning, class!” Miss Bustier entered the class with an excited grin. The loud chatting was shut down. “Today our new foreign student has arrived! Please, be nice and let her introduce herself.” She turned to the door, gesturing with her hands so Laura could enter. Laura walked to the woman's side, seeing all the eyes of the room directed at her. She gulped dry. 

"Good morning, my name is Laura Belrose. It's a pleasure to meet all of you." she smiled with her eyes closed. When she opened them, she noticed the number of different people in that place with different styles and shapes. She waved quickly and put her hands on her jacket. Receiving hellos and questions about herself, she noticed a quiet figure watching her. 

Oh no. 

It was her, the dark-haired girl who had crashed by accident the previous day sitting in the back left near the window. She had a confused expression on her face, probably surprised as she was right now. The part she found strangest was to realize that she was the only one with no partner at her side. 

"Laura, please sit next to Marinette. She'll help you stabilize during class." Bustier said very low voice tone. That was a click. Her name was Marinette. Pretty name, she had the memory of a series character named like that on television. She was funny. Maybe that Marinette was too? She was already pretty. But Marinette’s face was lowkey serious, narrowing her with a rough gaze. Looking where the teacher pointed, she hesitantly nodded. Not for fear, but for any other reason she just couldn't define. 

In an honest note, Laura was never good with feelings or how to demonstrate it. The only person she was ever open up at the total pin of trust with weakness and hurt was her mother. She loved her friends, but they were just friends and she was grateful for that. But it’s hard to accept others after closing up for so long. And having that girl just looking at her with such mystery was unsettling. But that ended quickly when the bluenette one just sighed and returned to write something on her notebook. Ah, now it is. 

Please be nice. 

“Hello.” Laura simply said as she sat down and placed her backpack closer to her legs. 

“Hi.” 

Silence. 

Oh god dammit. 

Bustier clapped to call the class attention. Today’s topic seemed to be about Spanish poetry. That was easy, she remembered some spanish classes, they were cool and for some reason her old teacher just really loved Shakira. Taking off the tablet, she found the subject, and it was difficult. 

Challenges, there would be a lot of them now. 

“I hate this. Why is this so hard?” She heard a murmur. Marinette was looking down at her exercise, completely lost. Laura couldn’t help but see what was the matter that disturbed Marinette. Looking down, she realized that it was about a synonym in the poem. 

"Children.” She said. Marinette turned at her in surprise. “Y’ know, ‘progenie’ is synonymous for ‘hijos’. It means children, letter C." 

Marinette frowned. “When you say this, it makes looks easy.” 

“Kind of.” Laura turned back to her tablet with a giggle. She didn’t hear the surprised gasps coming from the front desk, either Marinette’s sharp inhale. “hm, this seems...” 

“I’m sorry for yesterday.” 

Oh. Her mind just stopped working. There it was. 

“Look, when we ran into each other It really hurt and I was almost late to class, but you face was really painful and I thought ‘oh no is she okay?’, but then you left so hurried and quiet I thought you were angry, so even with you being nice here I thought you were just acting nice but." Marinette explained, laughing at herself for a moment. Her voice was low, probably to not call attention from others. "I think like that sometimes, I'm sorry." 

Laura shook her head. “No need for apologizing. I’m fine, it’s all fine. I’m really glad we are having this conversation actually.” Laura said and pressed an answer button before continuing. “I also thought I hurt you, that was really heavy. But no, it’s okay. Here,” She held out her hand. “My name is Laura, it’s nice to meet you.” 

With a small smirk, Marinette squeezed her hand back. “I’m Marinette. Nice to meet you too.” 

 

Chapter Text


 

The school day went... Strangely calm. Of course, there was some strange things around the class, but she was too oblivious to notice at first. 

At first impression, apparently French people were not very good at recognizing sister languages. 'It's so stupid, c’mon!' All of them came from Latin, there wasn't too many divergent terms to find yourself understanding. But then she found herself confused by advanced grammar in the texts, and she got embarassed enough that shes suddenly became afraid to say that to the noirette girl, even though Marinette was being polite and very friendly towards her. Laura knew this was going to bite her back in the future and she decided to swallow the fear and ask for help, opening more doors for quick conversations. It felt good.

Another thing happened during the first break time. The way the other classmates – not all of them, of course –, were treating Marinette. She was the representant, as the bluenette explained during their conversation, and she had to carry over a lot of things at the same time. But then why some people were so rude and shallow with her?

For example, when Marinette came to two girls who looked very busy chatting with each other and asked something about a presentation, she heard the sharpness in their voice, something acid around the way they spoke the formal words. And worst, one of the girls actually hissed something after Marinette goes down the stairs. That was some bitchy attitude, but Marinette didn’t seem to care. That was good, seeing bullies only pick when they see a weakness, but still... Not right. This made her crave the girls appearences in her memory.

Another thing actually happened during lunch break while waiting Marinette to join her at the cafeteria table for the first day Just for company, because apparently she eats in a bakery everyday.

A sort girl with blue eyes and pink bubblegum hair tied in a ponytail under a cap. She was wearing a fluorescent green sports suit and black, all while drinking a can of soda. She stared at her deep in her eyes before she sat down in front of her. 

"So, newbie," She spoke in a half smile. "Don’t bother trying to come with a subject because today I'm only here for a quick question, okay? My name's Alix and we know some things about you." 

Did Laura find that strange? Of course she did. But the moment was so random and incredible weird that she just fell silent in absolute shock, picking her snack from the thermal bag and eat. There were glances from the other classmates on both of them, watching closely what was going on there. 

"Your name is Laura and you're transferred from another country. Mme. Bustier warned us about you." Laura nodded, making the rosy jumping out of her chair. "Have you ever done something extraordinary in your life?" 

What was she suppouse to say? 'Oh, yes, I know a lot of people, I'm relevant!' Hell no.

"I... Don't know the answer you're looking for, but no. I don't." Laura said in another bite. She met people, lots of them, but none of them being important or relevant enough. And to add, these types of questions were very obnoxious. "Why?"

“Nothing." Alix said, getting up from the chair againg, but this time going away. "Thanks newbie, that was all!”

After that, during another break, a akuma attack striked. It only took fifteen minutes for their defeat, but she saw nothing of it. She was taking a nap at her table, still being affected by the time fuse.  

Time goes by, classes for the day were over and all that was left for students were extra activities like fencing and gear. Laura was going to have her first extra class of advanced french that day, but an unexpected teacher's reunion prevented Bustier from attending, remarking the class for the next thursday. At that she realized the opportunity and asked Marinette if she could see another school areas that she wasn’t able to see it during the first visit. Marinette accepted, after all, she was with the class representant.

“...and that why we don’t use the art class out of art class.” Marinette finished her explanation with a satisfied grin. Not for the almost sad explanation, but for being actually able to actually explain the situation all right. “You can take a deeper look if you want to.” 

The blonde nodded enthusiastically and entered the room. “This place is huge!” Laura commented, jaw dropped. The smell of pointed pencil and fresh paint coming in through her nostrils as she noticed the gigantic room filled with artistic materials. She remembered her old school and how there wasn’t even an art room, just a closet with some papers and paint. It was really something out of this world. “It’s a shame y’all only use it for one class.” 

“It happens.” Marinette said a little lower. The two were looking at some fresh paintings on the floor close to the window, and all of them looked fantastic. Laura wasn’t a good painter, so all art was something else for her. She was really into surrealism. Maybe she would start doing something with her old pencils. 

“I’m not really into art and painting and this stuff, but I would love having classes here anyway.” Laura said at last, a half-silly smile across her lips. 

Turning her heels, Laura looked at the pamphlets and murals hanging from the wall and ceiling. Unlike the other drawings, all the others had a specific theme of... Winter? Yes, nothing could deny that it was a winter theme, but without being a specific Christmas or holiday thematic, it was just the theme of snow and passing seasons in white, blue and gold glitter. 

"Is... Is that a project too?" 

"Oh," Marinette turned to her side. "these are for the ball decoration." 

"Ball?" Laura raised an eyebrow. 

"Yes, yes, it was something the school decided to try to unite the students to... Celebrate the winter? Yes, the winter, two months from now, between the days of the solstice. We called ‘The Winter Ball’. I still don’t get it why the teachers had this idea but here we are now. Everyone is doing their part in this big play and it looks good." 

"Do I have to play a part too?" 

Marinette shook her head. "Almost everything about decorations and plans is decided, but if you want, well, do something like a dance or presentation during a break, you'll be able to." 

Needless to say, Laura was surprised. She thought there wasn’t such a thing in parisian schools. Hell, there wasn’t anything like this out of teenage pop movie. But, weird enough, she found herself attached to the idea. A winter prom, right at the beginning of the coldest season, the first time she would see the snow falling from the skies, right at a seasonal party. 

“That’s really cool.” 

 

[•••]

 

Laura arrived at home almost relieved. Her first experience coming alone on the subway was an exhaustive and long journey. Entitling people asking her if she was lost or confused in the station – something she was at the beginning but the questions kept following her until her final stop – and other people walking away with suspicious eyes and calling her names in a low yet audible. Yeah, only her first day alone. Some things never change, really. Not even in first world countries.

She went directly to the bathroom to take a warm, long and necessary shower. The house was still unlit and the lights only came on after she finished her bath and changed clothes to put her yellow pajamas. Honey soap fragance around the hall, finally free from the dirt and street aura heavyness.

Romeo, the rottweiler puppy, barked happily when she finally had the living room lights on. Laura laughed at the dog's reaction and called him into the kitchen, where she replaced the dog's water and food and heated her own separate plate on the microwave for five minutes. 

Food on her hands, she went to the sofa and turned on the TV, passing the channels until reach a foreign channel, changing the language into english. It seemed a betrayal to her condition, but she felt much more open to that language, precisely because it was the easiest to learn. After all, no english native had a rule around the four ways of saying ‘why’. Or so many points between words. 

And now, into the flash news around the world! Romelle, tell us what happened today in the world.” 

Of course, Jeremy. Today a shocking news came around Paris. As we all know, for more than two years, the city has been under the attacks of a weird man called Papillion, also nicknamed Hawk Moth for us, foreigners. But today, after another of his attacks, the superheroes Ladybug and Black Cat gave the villan an ultimatum to stop his crimes.

Laura's eyes widened. She turned to the television, watching the two hero figures standing in front of what appeared to be an impromptu podium around a few reporters. In the center, there was a man in serious posture wearing a military uniform. 

"And the fact that he has decided to attack civilians to the point of leaving them between life and death is unacceptable. From today, Papillion is not only a state but international criminal and his capture has a high reward price. Any information or signal boost will be a huge help to our troops in the mission find this absolute terrorist monster." 

And as if that were not enough then, Ladybug spoke. 

"His crimes are unforgivable, manipulating young people and wounding old people. We had enough. Chat Noir and I will not rest until we find him, and we aren’t going easy this time. Be ready for war, Papillion."

Fuck. What was she supposed to think after that? Civil war? A spy movie? She had just entered school, could it affect her or her grades? She hoped not. That man looked like a general. As someone who lived in a bad place, that wasn’t a good signal. 

Her phone rang. In a jump she saw her mother's face on the screen and turned off the TV sound. 

Hello?” 

Laura, dear! I found a break here so let’s go quick!” Miss Belrose said excited. “School. How it was?” 

Nice. I met a nice girl, had some conversations, there was an akuma attack but I slept during it so nothing bad happened.” 

You slee... Oh forget it. You totally learned that with Amanda.” 

Hey!!” The girl protested. Amanda, her old friend, had the bad habit aeoung sleeping in school, but the difference was that Amanda slept during classes, and she slept during breaks and lunch time. “I woke up before the sun rises, give me a break!” Laura almost yelped in defense. “But it was fine. Also, your work. How it is going?” 

Honestly, I wonder myself so many times how many lawyers were akumatized during a day here. People are just so dumb! It’s useless.” The woman rolled her eyes in annoyance. “I was so close to win a case today and the freaking judge stopped me because my client was crying. He was innocent but got guilty-tripped and akumatized!” 

Miranda never stood at the criminal side. If she believed her client was innocent, she would go until the end. but justice acts in the same way, no matter the place. Yes, she was worried with that sudden butterfly man thing, and Miranda’s remark on the jury situation was pretty stressful. 

Welcome to France, I guess?” Laura said, only making her mom sigh on the other side. 

Yes, a terrible welcome.” She laughed. “But I'm so happy you had a good day! And you made a friend! Tomorrow night I will be leaving soon and we will have a better talk.” 

But tomorrow morning...?” 

I will take you to school, don’t worry. But you are a dead zombie when you wake up so the talk would be boring. I need to go now, bye! I love you!” 

I love you too, mom. Bye.” She ended the call with a mix of headache of worry and a sigh of happiness. The mania of keeping adding problems into herself was a gigantic flaw she couldn't help it but keep doing it. She was going to meet more people in that classroom, try different things. Ask Marinette why people were rude to her that time, maybe? 

Wouldn’t it be a breach of privacy to reach her and ask right away? It used to work like that at her old school, but everyone there were a loose, and from what she had seen only one person had the face of going ask something for her – even being the most clueless question she ever saw for a first conversation – but it would work with her... 

Wait, why was she thinking so much about it? Marinette was just her classmate, not her best friend. Laura shouldn't care so much about it. But class rep. was such a cool gal, even if too formal. Very intelligent and vocal. And her hair had such a weird amazing blue glow with the few rays of sun between the cloudy weather... 

'Don’t. You just don’t like injustice, Laura. It's just a curiosity. Nothing more than that.'

She looked around to ser Romeo sleeping closer to her feet. Laura let out a relaxed sigh. Her stomach growled and she actually remember she was having dinner before the news and call. Fast, she took her fork and ate a bit of the rice, only to realize...

The food was cold. 

 

 

Chapter Text


 

 

Juleka was irritated. At the tip of her fingers there was a pen that slammed fervently on the paper. A blank piece of paper ripped from her textbook with nothing. Frustration filled her being, she sighed in defeat. She was the first to arrive at class to get more time to write, but she was failing in that. Yes, the teachers trusted her with a solo presentation alongside her brother’s band, but they also asked an original song. For winter thematic! In such a short time! That was insanity! 

It was a bright morning, the first in weeks. The warm temperature made her leave her heavy outfits, and she felt uncomfortable without her scarf. At least she had her hat, which she took off to pass her fingers through her shoulder-length violet hair. Sweat. It was hot. It was at that moment she realized she would only be ready to write a winter song at winter time. 

Which was going to take maybe too many days to wait for it. 

“Shit...” she cursed under her breath. 

The door opened for another student. A redhead boy with a tired look on his face. He sat down beside her, already getting hands on his school material. His backpack was filled with blue and pink snowflakes details. Juleka groaned in frustration. 

"Jule."  

"Nath." They both greeted each other. But she turned away to take another page from her textbook. The words ‘FOR PROM’ were together in giant lyrics. 

"It's still two months away from the party, Jule," Nathaniel said positively, but the weight in his voice betrayed the sleep deprivation of the night before giving a weird dead tone to the words. "I can help you even though I have zero knowledge about music." 

Juleka shook her head, a sigh followed by laughter. "It's okay. Honestly I'm starting to think that my luck with that vanished yesterday, today and probably tomorrow too." She narrowed her eyes, rolling them around. “I’ve been in a bad mood anyway.” 

“Why?” Nathaniel tilted his head in worry. “Did something happen with your family?” 

“No, my family is fine, but there is something with...” 

Before she was even able to say, there was a loud bang at the door. The two looked up to see the girl coming in a strong catwalk style. Blonde platinum hair loose along her back, yellow blazer hiding her white shirt and black belts, brown eyeglasses and high heel gold shoes. Juleka fell silent as she knew the moment would be stolen by the other, but also, she didn’t really want to talk about it. 

Sometimes she was kinda grateful for Chloé being... well, Chloé. 

“Oh, hello there.” the blonde waved to the both with an excited grin stamped on her face. “Sorry for not saying nothing about my return, but guess what?” 

“You literally disappeared. For nearly two weeks.” Nath remarked. 

“I was busy in New York with my mom. Y’all seeing the result soon!” Her grin grew wider. “So, what did I lost?” 

“Newbie in our class yesterday.” 

“WHAT?!” 

"She's a foreign girl, came yesterday and currently sitting in the back with Marinette. She looks cool and not like the one we don’t mention here.” Juleka cringed at the ending. Nathaniel tried not to laugh at the blonde's reaction but he couldn’t help it. He actually yawned before doing it. Juleka waved her hand to catch the attention of a shocked Bourgeois. 

Chloé took a deep breath. "That’s actually relieving... But I'm calling out Sabrina for not telling me the news." 

Juleka shrugged, copper eyes turning back to her textbook. Soon the room would be full and she would have even less time to think of anything. 

 


 

Laura was thankful she’d came in time for the first period. Well, it wasn’t her fault that a car crash caused such a mess in the highway, but she was glad it didn’t take so much of her time. 

Arriving in the classroom, she noticed some new faces, notable to her memory. All of them were at the same spot, Marinette included. The pale girl was doing the same thing as yesterday, writing on her sketchbook. Laura felt frozen in the door for just staring at her. The sun shone brightly, lighting the room to the point where it wasn’t really necessary to turn on the lights. Breathless, she forced her heels forward to walk, going in a nearly locked pace up the stairs. 

"Hi!" Laura greeted politely, sitting down and already picking up her school supplies. Marinette nodded back. "So, I did the complimentary exercises you gave me. It looks a bit messy, but it worked just fine." 

“You did it all in one night? That’s incredible.” Marinette commented, looking down at the exercises Laura was showing to her. 

“Thanks,” Laura smiled, feeling her skin face getting warm, as if she was blushing. Laura ignored the detail as the parallel conversations began to cover the room's space. There was a group around a brunette girl making a huge noise, sometimes filling the space with laugher. It was like a stand-up show from the outside view. Marinette looked visibly annoyed by that scene, though. At first thought, Laura couldn’t tell if it was because the sounds were interrupting the concentration or something else, but when she remembered the scene between the two girls snubbing the representant, the doubt began to become a line of certainty. 

Again, doing something like that was not wrong by Laura’s standards. Knowing the new territory is extremely fundamental for survival, especially when it comes to school survival. Her mind started working on theories. They could pretty much just be like that for years already, how could she think of something to fix... Wait- No, she wasn’t going to fix anything. It was just a method of cap- 

Suddenly, yellow. 

Platinum yellow. 

A girl stooped by their side. Arms crossed, intense gaze at them. 

“Hey Mari, mind to introduce the newbie?” The blonde asked, a peculiar smirk in her pastel lips. 

“Oh, I forgot.” Marinette hold a laugh under her breath. “So, Laura, this is Chloé. Chloé, this is Laura.” 

“Nice to meet ya.” The two girls looked at each other. Laura reached her hand out, but Chloé approached to give a literal hug with her closer arm while handshaking her free hand. When Chloé let go, Laura felt paralyzed. Does every body in that class was like that? 

“Same. It's good to know that we have a new gal on our side." Chloé winked. 

Marinette rolled her eyes with a laugh. 

“Thanks, I’m here...?” Laura raised a brow. 

“Yes, you are. But don’t worry, not only you are under my wind, you are under her wing!” Chloé winked harder, her hands giving a help to Laura notice the comb hair tied close to her right ear. Ok, maybe she was too slow to notice something but that didn’t matter, she saw it had the form of a bee. 

Laura was stealthy in pulling out her phone and starting searching for something similar with...

Search: Bee Girl Paris. First result: Queen Bee. Related Result: Chloé Bourgeois. Search results for: Chloé Bourgeois, daughter of André Bourgeois, mayor and candidate for governor of Paris and Audrey Bourgeois, famous fashion design. - The memory clicked. The surname was not strange, after all. Audrey had caused some controversy at some fashion event when she tried to reduce other designers to favor her own models. She was more familiar with André because of the consulate, but she did not need to think too much, he was a politician. 

God, she hoped Chloé wasn’t like that. 

"Sabrina, don’t tell me Bustier did some important homework this week." 

"Not this one, but she sent some last week." 

"WHICH ONE?!" 

“I’ll show you.” 

“OH... Thanks.” 

Never mind, Chloé looked cool. 

The girl named Sabrina was having a good time seeing Chloé in that situation. She was ginger and used glasses. Laura remembered her because she was there yesterday, sitting with a purple haired girl that now she was with a red kid. They all seemed to be friends. 

Soon Mme. Bustier entered and started literature class. So now, language would be for two days straight. She needed to see the entire week schedule to not get lost. The lecture of poems along with interpretation exercises were rough. While everyone was quietly writing, Laura stood by when she finished writing the questions. 

“Do you need some help?” Laura heard the raspy whisper very close to her ear. She was distracted enough to not notice Marinette coming closer. She turned around, seeing her face very close to hers. Laura pursed her lips, speechless. It was then she noticed how pretty the girl’s rose-colored lips were. The sunlight glimmering under her bluish hair shadow, giving a vivid look at the already vivid eyes. They were really close to each other. Laura forced a smile, holding the air in her lungs to keep her breath normal. 

“Laura? Are you okay?” Marinette asked, but she couldn't answer it. The only thing that could take her out of that situation was if something outside the school happened. 

BOOOM! 

It was another wednesday. 

Holy shit!” Laura let out the scream as she got up and went down on her table, lying on the ground with her hands on her head. The ground tremble and one by one they all began to get up to see from the window what was happening. 

“Akuma!” Chloé shouted as the class had the view of a weird blue and silver lady with giant wings flying around the streets and releasing a weird energy from her hands, causing explosions and screams. The akuma attack alarm started playing on the entire building, Mme. Bustier got up from her seat and started saying the basic instructions to the students. 

Marinette waited almost everyone to get out, but Laura was still on the ground. 

“Uh, Laura?” She called. 

“Don’t mind me, I'm just protecting myself!” 

“We need to go to the safety rooms. C’mon!” Laura saw Marinette giving her a helping hand. She only understood ‘safety’ so it should be for the better. With the help, they packed their stuff and followed the rest of the class, but as soon as Laura caught up with them, Marinette was gone. 

“Marinette?” 

“Laura, thank goodness!” Caline approached the girl with a relieved smile. “Come with me, I'll show you how we do during an attack.” 

“B-B-B-B-B-But...” Laura stammered several times as she was led by the teacher into the hidden room, not even paying any attention to the redhead's explanation of the security measures. Laura was only thinking about Marinette. They were together when they left the room and then... She disappeared! Where did she go?”, she thought to herself alone. 

Inside the room were four rows of chairs and a television connected directly to the news channel. A good amount of the students were inside too, either calling their relatives to see if everything was working out or talking normally between each other as if nothing was really happening. Among them were several of his classmates. 

Laura settled into one of the seats and stared at the LCD screen. The filmed footage showed a young girl walking hurriedly through a working place alley until she stops in a bizarre way, being dominated by some kind of black smoke seconds after. Then they came back to the live footage of the streets and the chaos that formed near the Champs-Élysées avenue. Yeah, of course the TV was muted and she didn’t have any idea of what the reporters were saying between the shots. 

As she kept watching, she felt someone coming closer and sitting next to her. It was the ginger girl from before. 

“Hey.” 

“Hi.” 

“So, you were here yesterday but nobody said one thing... I’m sorry for that.” The girl said trying to cover her awkwardness. “I’m Sabrina, by the way.” 

“I’m Laura.”  

“I must say, you are really pretty.” The ginger giggled. “And your eyes are almost silver, right? They are beautiful. Oh, pardon me, I’m such a fool for starting a conversation like that but I couldn’t help it because...” 

“Don’t worry, that was really cute!” Laura gestured with her hands to give a positive note. “And you are also pretty, not just your eyes but also you yourself.” Laura eulogized in a half innocent act. That was something she used to do anyway, and the way the girls got happy about it was pretty satisfying. 

Sabrina’s expression lifted up the corner of her lips turn up in a smile, but she instantly pulled back, as nervousness kicked it. Sabrina turned around so Laura couldn’t see her face turn into a real mess of red. Laura noticed Sabrina's bustle and turned as well. She had just met the girl and said one of those. Oh no, no, what she had done what she had done what she had just done- 

“That was so sweet of yours.” Sabrina replied adjusting a lock of her fringe, causing a huge relief onto Laura. “Chloé had a good impression of you.” 

“I’m glad she had.” I did nothing wrong to get something bad anyway, but it was nice to know that another girl liked her for doing basically nothing. “But where is she?” 

“There.” Sabrina pointed at the television to show Queen Bee helping Ladybug to fight the akuma. 

“Wow.” 

“Yeah, she’s amazing, isn’t she?” Sabrina said, more to herself. Laura looked up to see more of the news, the heroes flying around, Ladybug’s red being the most notorious. 

“Yeah, she sure is...” But that wasn’t enough. If that was going to be the daily routine, then it was no different from her previous life. 

And Marinette was nowhere to be seen. 

Now she was worried. 

Chapter Text


 

“So, there was two akumas in different parts of the city, and one of them almost won?” 

“Isn't that like, absolute crazy!?” 

“Oh, gosh, the army was right! We need to do something to stop this!”

Sometimes eavesdropping in a conversation could lead to many embarrassing situations, such as discovering someone's secret or a unwanted gossip about yourself, but all conversations were centered around Papillon, his Akumas and their almost victory. It's worrying for this sole reason indeed, but the casual tone, as if no one's life was ever at stake the entire time is what really turns all frightening.

"If Ladybug falls, we all go down with her."

DeJa'Vu. That's the word to define her feelings. It's strange, but familiar. The feeling of insecurity crawling its way over her throat, leaving a bitter taste on her mouth. Quietly, she'd made her way to the classroom, not really aware of the world around. Her only thought was about how the entire city was at war, submitted at the butterfly man's mercy. They needed to go faster before a bigger tragedy happen, and considering how much information usually is allowed to run out internationally, she had her doubts intensified.

Somewhere in the middle Sabrina was able to catch her onto a conversation, but she just couldn't concentrate. Basically being dragged by the redhaired girl who's just kept talking about something.

“...And when everybody saw the collar it was just really insane, you know?” Sabrina tilted her head to see a reaction, only to find Laura's blank expression towards nowhere. Tightening her grasp around the girl's arms, she asked, “Hey, are you listening?”

It kind of helped momentarily. Laura snapped out from her trance and replied. "What? No—wait, just.. I got lost, sorry."

"Oh, don't worry, I'll repeat it. Well, let's start from the part where I went outside the school..."

She made an effort to hear about the situation involving a diamond collar and something about stealing, but in the end she just smiled  and nodded when necessary, still thinking about what happened before.

They arrived at class, and it was exactly the same. Clinching her backpack, she made her way until her seat, being accompanied by the unending buzz and conversations around the Akuma topic. If this was going to be a daily occurrence, at least they should've have warned about it with more precision. Only the "keep emotions in check" was not enough for going hiding in a shelter. Letting out a sigh, the girl almost missed the moment Marinette stepped in right before the history teacher. Her face was apple red.

“Oi, Nette!” Laura gave a shy wave, feeling her throat hurting from being dry. “Where were you? There was this akuma things and you're disappeared.”

Marinette hesitated after sitting down. "Oh, um. I needed to solve a quick issue and went to hide in another place.” Laura fought the urge to crawl her nails over her jeans. The way she spoke—so dismissed and nonchalant, with a light shrugg and a fragile smile. “Talking about it, we'll be having a council reunion between the classes presidents. Thinking about, it would be nice if you were there to see some of our plans.”

"Oh, right." Sabrina interrupted, scrolling through her phone. “I wrote the class semester plans, here.”

Marinette looked at her own phone, that vibrated with a jingle. "Oh, right. I had even forgot about it. Thank you, Sabrina."

With the bell ring, the Chloé girl arrived and completely stole Sabrina’s attention—they seemed to be good friends. The previous conversation was already killed, so Marinette decided to silent herself and remain in such way. The blonde didn't really feel to bring it up either, so both of them just turned around and started to pay attention to class.

"It's really nice to have a new student here," The history teacher said after the usual first greeting "but that means we'll have to redo a few things to adapt to our new friend. Because of this, all groups for the project are dissolved and I'll decided who's gonna be where myself."

Groans of frustration filled the room, and Laura visibly shrunk into her seat with burning dark cheeks. Suddenly, she felt like an intruder. Alright, the teacher apologized right after and someone in front of her said something about him being extremely rude—as if she wouldn't notice that.

"Hey, Marinette." She whispered, calling her seatmate's attention. "About the reunion thing..."

 


 

"It's really nice to see someone coming over! I mean, there were so many hijacks before, but I'm feeling your presence here will be a game changer!" Sabrina chirped. They were inside the room, sitting together alongside other people from other classes. It was a common classroom. The tables were arranged in oval with a few more chairs at the center in a debating style.

"Yeah, nice." Laura nodded, giving a better glance at each student. She was able to catch a eye at the same girl who had snubbed Marinette the day before laughing along with some older boys. Why was she there in the first place?

Sabrina then hummed and turned around. There was too many silence spaces between their conversations, and she was starting to wonder if Sabrina was feeling some kind of discomfort around her—even if it was not physically noticeable. Maybe the girl noticed she wasn't paying attention before and didn't wanted to be friends anymore. Oh, damn, she screwed up yet again! What would she say to–

"Here, I want you to meet some of our allies at the council!" Sabrina spoke again, calling the girl's disperse attention. "They are from 3e-2. Friendly rivals, if I can describe."

Laura was about to question about the last part when a very bubbly girl appeared from nowhere right in front of her. It was a scarlet eyed girl with very pale skin and even paler long white hair. Their thin black lipsticked lips were curled in a excited smile. To fit the apparent happy first impression, she was also using a butterfly themed shirt and bright pink skirt, along with multicolored stockings and ballerina sandals.

"So, you are the newbie from Bustier's class!"

"Uhh... Yes? Nice to meet you." She moved her hand forward for a handshake but instead received a really tight hug. "Wow!"

"That's so nice! For starters, my name is Jeanne! I'm the co-vice! But oh! You really are the same girl from yesterday at the entrance! Everyone looked at you because you have this mysterious bad girl vibe with that leather jacket and all, but you look so cute it seems unreal! Your hair is lovely and your eyes are—oh goodness, your eyes! Misa fell in love with your eyes! Are they real or you put them out like a contact?"

"Wait! Wait! Stop right there!" Another girl interrupted the scene and stood between the two girls, which made Laura exhale in absolute relief. "Laura, right? I'm Misa and I'm really sorry for my girlfriend here, she can be a little exaggerating sometimes."

"I don't do this!"

"You just did, sugar!" The girl, Misa, said in a louder tone. Her aura was completely different from Jeanne, more down to Earth. It was a tan girl with teal blue eyes and very long green hair put in a ponytail. Her outfit was also a various shade of a cold pallet, with a blue long sleeved shirt, dark blue jeans, and black sports sneakers.

Misa cringed and started to explain herself. "Look, about the eyes thing, I just really like them. It's pure gray and very uncommon. They have this stormy thing that hypnotizes, you know?"

Even with so much information to collect, Laura still found a way to make herself feel embarrassed with a genuine complement. Her cheeks got darker in a blush, and she let a weak smile come across her lips in amusement. "Thank you. That's nice to hear."

"I mean, it's such a rare color, different from green or red and ouch!" Misa was yanked away from the conversation by Jeanne, who started to talk about another topic. 

Belrose felt so happy at that moment. Her eyes glimmered in silver upon the artificial lights. That was so nice, but also gave so many explanations about why everyone was staring at her. Really, they thought she was a bad girl just like a movie description of a bad guy. That was so surprisingly funny it was almost not funny at all.

Marinette appeared right from behind, giving a single 'hello' wave to her. There was a smile to her, and for that moment, only for her. “You really have pretty eyes.” That was the only thing the noirette said, making the blonde's heart almost  pump out alive from her body.

That girl was magical. Not exactly in those words, but there was something within Dupain-Cheng that would make her go crazy every time they interact, even after the attack scene.

It has been only two days but the urge to stay  close to her was growing abnormally stronger, right at her tips. Even in the smallest interactions there was something to cherish. It was a good kind of feeling she didn’t even remembered feeling for a real long time. Such a wonderful experience, she wanted more.

Alright, maybe fantasizing about the real world instead of actually living was a problem but still. This was reality for them now. That was the moment she realized something big:

She wanted to be friends with Marinette!

...

Wait.

“Did you bring the presentation text, Jeanne?”

“Eh, hah, about the text...” 

“Please don't tell me you forgot.”

Misa and Jeanne were discussing loudly about something right by their side. Marinette chuckled at their interaction but Laura was more amazed by how similar the two were to her old friends. Amanda would probably get offended if she ever brought that during a chat.

Jeanne laughed, trying to hide her panic and taking her phone out of her pocket. She called Belrose's attention. Now that she was speaking more slowly, Laura realized her accent was not French at all. “Girl! Do you have a phone? Of course you have! Here, tell me yo' number so I can add you to our WhatsApp’s group.” 

“Wait, you have a WhatsApp?” Laura asked, dumbfounded.

“Duh!” Jeanne rolled her eyes. “C’mon, just give me your number and we're settled. Kagami’s here too, she just doesn’t talk at all.” 

“Speaking of her...” Laura heard Marinette’s voice muffed at her right ear, but she didn’t expect to just turn around and face the Kagami girl right in the eye, and when it happened, her jaw almost dropped.

There was another beautiful—stunning—young bluenette in front of her. Kagami was handsome, tall and serious-faced girl, with brown-yellow eyes and pale skin with freckles speckled around her cheeks. She seemed to wear a kind of formal outfit, taken for her black tie and red skirt with black jeans. She sure had the look.

Marinette appeared between them to call Kagami and Laura just felt her heart missing thousands of heartbeats. She felt her breathing getting weirder. Both of them giggled at some joke and suddenly her blood was at speed racing. Oh, they couldn’t notice her real panic at all, even with Marinette's frowning. Laura forced a smile, and the scene thankfully died out. When Sabrina asked if everything was fine, Laura waved her hands in disguise.

“Oh, it’s getting hot in here, isn’t it?” 

Really more.

The reunion began a little bit sooner than the expected, and it was really boring at first. To be fair, Laura never felt welcome in politics, and school politics absolutely sucks. It was important, but her least favorite topic to deal. At her old school, even before the turn of events, she was already bad with the many classes issues. Her mind became a helium balloon, floating softly and ignoring the reunion in favor of Marinette's words.

When her time to speak came up, it was just as amazing as it was surprising. Marinette had a angry range,  succeeding to pass a message of power through her ideas. Most of them were about the winter party stuff, but holy hell were they good! Kagami and her were both amazing and no miscommunication could deny that—although Tsurugi had a problem with her project plan and Jeanne's apologies could easily be compared to cries.

Then Marinette came along with the campaign of money fund, which was a open talent show for the public to watch. This would be to help the poor people during the cold season period. An genuine, nice intention meant to be the last help from the year from the future collège students.

It was all going really smoothly, until it wasn't.

Problem came with the one speaking called Marc. They were clear about their ball ideas, very bright and cheerful, and they were adding some information and requests about the courtyard decoration. With a whisper, Sabrina mentioned they were dating a boy from class. "Nath's special one!  You don't have a problem with that, do you?”

Laura chocked, half laughing and other surprised. “Como!? O-Of course not! I could even think negative, because I'm—"

“Unfortunately, I won’t be attending the party.” 

The girls stopped. Everybody stopped, actually. Marc's words were cut out by the thick italian accent from the same girl Sabrina said it was a bother. Laura didn’t have a mirror, but knowing herself, her dark face was probably somber in annoyance. Sabrina didn’t needed to fake it, and Marinette was also… Irritated. 

“As everybody knows, I'm doing a trip to Antarctica to save the polar bears from extinction, and I was thinking — gasp! Why not join the money before the prom and-“ 

"That’s really unfortunate," Marinette shrugged. “Well, besides Lila, I'm glad there’s people here willing to help. Marc, please keep going with your idea. After that I’m going to the principal to give a note about the situation around the glitter problem.” 

“I’m really starting to think all of this is unnecessary.” Lila raised her voice, so thin it actually hurt to hear. “I mean, my plan is so much better, and I'm more trustworthy that you will ever-“ 

“If you want to do the charity, then do a request to Mr. Damocles, because we did it before and let me say that to 'my idea' is actually the class idea.” Marinette cut her off sharply, irritation at the edge of her tone. “Don’t scream at me when I'm only following orders, Rossi.” 

“Listen, Dupain-Cheng, you trying to embarrass me is very, very, rude, and I think my idea is also for a big cause, so I suggest a poll.” 

This is definitely bizarre, Laura thought. She turned around and had a glance of Marc, who was extremely upset for being interrupted and shut down. It was obvious that he had more to say about the topic. The warning 'this person can be akumatized' was there. “Oh no, no, no…” she let out in a murmur before formulating the question. “Hey!” 

Ouch, she didn’t meant to be that loud. Green eyes stared at her, a type of look that screamed falsehood. First impressions were important for a reason. “Excuse me?” 

“I-I mean,” Laura rose up from her seat, words coming slow to her own understanding. She felt her knees trembling, oh god she was trembling. “you shouldn’t talk like that. It was very disrespectful.” 

“Wha- Who are you to say that to me? And what are you doing here?” Lila’s words were sharp and cold, her voice at the edge of disgust towards Laura, who needless to say, got heavily offended towards that act of pettiness. “I am doing something important here, and if you don’t mind…” 

“I do mind!” Laura’s sudden shout was able to interrupt Marinette's almost attempt to stop the discussion. “You are being absolute rude for no reason. You need to apologize to him!” The blonde folded her arms and drawn back her lips. 

For all the reactions, the girl apologized, showing regret in what she did. Facing up, a shift in the mood, a humble girl appeared. Almost unbelievable, because it wasn’t so easy to simply admit being wrong but Lila did. Shortly after, Lila was praised for some of the students for being quote on quote 'so great and nice to others'. The part that actually made her feel sick. Hell, why were they — not all of them, but enough them — rewarding for doing the bare minimum, was that right? 

At the end, the charity donation for the homeless was the accepted idea, and Sabrina wanted to celebrate with ice cream after the other classes. Kagami was the only one who refused, with the excuse of her fencing classes. Misa and Jeanne were happy for everything going okay, and Marinette kept quiet after exiting the room. Laura was by her side, also in silence, but mot for the same reasons as her.

"Wait! Wait!" A sweet voice called her in the distance. Looking around, Marc appeared right in front of them. “I almost lost you.” They said out of breath.

“Hi, Marc! You did great there.” Jeanne smiled. 

“Thanks, but I wish it was better tho.” He sighed and turned to Laura. “I just want to thank you for defending me there. I was really bummed.” 

“Oh, no problem. That girl was very disrespectful and I couldn’t stay quiet seeing it.” she shrugged shyly, but they  only giggled.

“Heh, I'm glad for that, really.” Marc said. Now Laura could see their pinkish lipstick in the same color tone as Sabrina's, and that just made her internally think how cute that was. “And I can see Mari and you are really close.” 

Close… C-CLOSE?!” The two girls looked at each other only to turn away instantly. “I’m new. Literally. Started yesterday.” 

“Oh, so you were the girl Nath told me about. Well, I hope we can become good friends!” 

After that they left, following the others from 3e-2 to the other side of the building for the rest of the school day. With no negative response from Marinette, Laura considered a win. Maybe she could do more in the council, even bringing ideas and topics. She would talk with Sabrina about it, but before, she needed some water. 

Just a few steps and she was completely alone in the hallway, filling her water bottle at the drinking fountain. Her throat was really dry and she didn't realized how nervous she was before. The water was ice cold and needed.

With her backpack already in the classroom thanks to Sabrina—which made her think damnabout how cool she was, and how cool all the girls there were indeed. The feeling something was different when they talked was extremely noticeable, and the fact they were speaking French all the time added something to the air.

Magic was real. Yeah, that part she'd got it. But the school did felt different when such detail came back on her mind. A charming energy around that place, and it was not a simple coincidence that Paris was called the City of Love.

It was still monochromatic, yes, but the blooming roses retracting for the winter and the comfortable breeze of the morning sun right before the cloudy storm arrive was another experience. It wasn’t the same as her old home, it would never be the same. A renaissance. Laura was so used to her low life that being in a elite-ish school felt as a dream.  

A weird, tripped, and dangerous dream.

She finished the bottle with a sign and turned her heels to come back to class, only to find the girl from the reunion with crossed arms in front of her holding an expression of fury behind a crafted smile.

"So, Laura, right?" She said her name in a disturbingly low tone. It was scary, and her eyes looked lifeless while staring at her. "How do you feel?"

"Uh... Oi? I mean, ah—Lila, right?" There was no response, and she was trembling. Oh, wait, why was she trembling? Ouch, that was no good, no good at all. The air also felt heavier, hard to breathe. “Look, I'm sorry for screaming to you before but I felt it was necessary. Y-You know, not only because of the akuma risk and-” 

“It’s all fine, you got your five minutes of fame. I completely understand, but you should've have chosen another moment."

"...What?" Laura frowned in surprise. It would be really rich for her to think things would actually go down smoothly between them after what just happened there, but that was a new reach.

Lila plain ignored her, coming closer with a growing rage filling her body composure. "But aren't you proud? You've got your attention, and a very nice one at that. Now Marinette will think about you as an ally. But don't worry, I'll compensate your stealing hour with no problem."

The bottle fell on the floor.

Laura was caught off guard by Lila's move, being forced against the brick with her wrists being restrained above her head by the brunette. Fear crippled her veins as she saw herself completely vulnerable in front of a stranger that was quickly becoming an agressor. There was no one around who could help her and Lila was so close the scene could be compared to a predator attacking its pray, and she was completely defenseless without her bag.

"Oh, you're so sensitive. Guess some things never changes at all." Lila laughed, a sickly sweet laugh. "I mean, you were walking with Marinette, I really don't know what to expect."

"Let go please..." Laura panted, only to get a dry laugh as response. What the hell was wrong with that girl at all?!

"Shut up, this will be quicker than you think." Lila said, one of her hands coming down to Belrose's curly hair, touching the skin beneath. "This is a lesson for you."

And before she could guess, a sharp pain filled her head as Lila craved her nails into her scalp. Laura let out a cry as the nails penetrated her skin, bring an abnormal pain instantly. This caused her to stumble forward and break free from Lila, falling on the floor with unbearable thoughts.

Lila was laughing, adding something about not finishing her work yet. This only made her desperate. She fell on the cold floor with her hands on her head, panting heavily as she shrink next to the drinking fountain. 

"No..." She managed to choke out, panic filling her thoughts at each second passed. Wasn’t able to glance sideways, vision's too blurry to even face her enemy. She felt dizziness, an acid will to vomit her lunch. Her shoulders fell heavy, an uncalled gasp for air formed and she let it out loudly in the hall. She just wanted an apology. A simple 'I'm sorry'. Why was this happening again? Why was everything going downhill suddenly so fast after such good moments? Was she a bad luck charm for herself? She wanted to be more helpful, not a burden. Why her? Why her? WhyWHY?! 

She wasn't able to see Lila's lips turn maliciously in a wicked smile, spinning her heels and starting to move away from her with no guilty under her consciousness, but she heard not one, but two surprised gasps before feeling touching her hips. The consuming fear almost made she crawl away, but she couldn’t. Her throat was still dry, her arms heavy, and herself somehow still awake. Her body involuntarily relaxed afterwards. Her state was between consciousness and unconsciousness was finally settling down. She was going out. Voices were blurry and voices almost unrecognizable. Almost, because Marinette's voice was already craved in her brain. Her vision finally faded to black, and there was nothing. 

Chapter Text


Panic was the first thing that passed through her body when she finally woke up. Her body was shaking violently against the soft surface, eyes trembling in confusion. Her hands moved to protect her head against the attacks, only to realize she was no longer in the previous vulnerable position.  

She wasn’t lying in a hallway anymore, but instead she was in a green bed inside a clean, white room. With a twinge of pain, she realized the point where Lila craved her nails were now covered in a bandage. She swallowed dry. The hit was so strong that there was a necessity to cover? Alright, at least she wasn’t dead… Right? She pinched her cheek. Definitely not.   

Getting up, the infirmary was in absolute quietness, only her breathing and gasps cutting the silence. She was entirely alone, with no one to explain what happened after she passed out or how did she  get  there anyway. Her eyeballs were spinning around, shaking from time to time and confusing her vision constantly. She remembered hearing Marinette in the distance before passing out. Maybe even a touch? It was a real possibility. Her backpack was also in a table next to a glass box filled with sealed painkillers, and her water bottle – wet and filled with fresh water – was there.  

That was actually nice.  

Still groggy, she drank a bit very thankfully and sat down waiting. A few minutes in stay by and finally someone appeared. The smell of hot coffee filled the room when the door opened and she didn’t even notice until seeing the figure standing there.  

“Miss Belrose.”

Louis Deschamps, the history teacher. He glanced at her worried, but assuring a sympathetic look between his tired tanned lines. He always looked tired every time he did something, at the point he seemed dead when he sat down at her side. Maybe it was the weight of knowledge, who knows. 

“U-uh, yes?” Her voice came out scratched and aching. Laura gasped in pain and ended up having a minor cough crisis. Deschamps waited until she could be better to talk. “ Damn it. ”   

“Did you drink water?” She nodded. “How’d you feel?”   

“I've… been worse.” Laura was able to say, but it didn’t made things better. Now that she had stopped to think about, all the teachers probably had some learning over her medical conditions – it was the basic to get into a school, but it all made more sense once she remembered. Running her hand through her jeans pocket, she felt the small piece of plastic intact, which made her swallow hard and then twist her face in pain afterwards.   

Talking about it, her jacket. She wasn’t wearing it – which could explain her cold and trembling – but it wasn’t anywhere in the infirmary.   

“Where…”   

“What?”   

“My jacket, sir. Where's my jacket?”  

   

In the principal’s office, Marinette and Lila were waiting between the seats. Marinette, worried and serious, holding the black jacket in hands; Lila, ignoring the tension growing around her, keeping a fake positive façade while whispering to herself.  

The air was so heavy they could feel it sinking their bodies on the floor. The silence was unsettling and the mood negative – apparently and thankfully not negative enough to call an akuma. Words were at the tip of their tongues, and it took more than the insufferable sound of the clock's pointer so one of them could actually say something.  

“So... You threatened her too?” Marinette asked, her voice more affirming than nothing else. If Mari could recollect, there was a four minutes sloth between the time Laura went away thirst to find her lying unconscious on the floor right next to a smiling Lila. And that was enough. She did. There was no other answer.  

Lila's  olive-green  glare had an obvious hatred directly pointed at her. In  a  instant she lost her cool and the true colors appeared. She sure didn’t expect to be caught on act, she sure didn't. Marinette knew about their dirty plans. This was such an amateur slip even for the liar's standards.  

After so many times getting away with all the misfortune caused by her actions and words, Marinette was surprised to see the possibility of a negative consequence for the very first time. Marinette's lips almost curled into a smile just thinking about it. After all the things she had done, all the damage caused, the half-Chinese girl would finally see it.  

But she wasn't entirely happy about it.  It took too long.  And even worse: the school would probably think it was just  an  isolated act and only give her a suspension at max. She only wanted justice, and finally getting one was good to bring some inner peace, but it was still not enough to pay the full price.   

“Are you trying to make this about yourself, Dupain-Cheng?” Lila snarled. “Why did you even go there in the first place? Do you really care about that weirdo? Is she your new toy?” She seemed to be almost crying by the high pitch. Almost believable, Rossi.  Almost  

“I just did my duty as a class representative. You gave no excuse to leave the class, Laura did. I'm not the wrong here.”   

“So… You did on purpose.” The brunette clenched her fists and narrowed her eyes. Marinette didn’t answer, holding the jacket tighter. She didn’t need to. Lila was the wrong, for the first time, she could point a her and say 'you are wrong this time'. It actually hurts to think that this was only happening now.   

“Silence, huh? I should've known already.” She turned away, going back to her spot. “You always have been jealous of me anyway.”   

“Oh, please, shut up.” The words came harsher than expected, and Lila's eyes widened. Marinette got up, facing the girl in front of her with no ropes holding her back. “You fucked me up during all this time and now expects I feel guilty for your own venom biting your back? You answered my question with that anyway so shut up already.”   

Lila was scared, but Marinette didn’t care for what she could think of her. The damage was already done.   

   

“Now, can you tell me what exactly what happened there?”   

Laura ran her hands over the bare shoulders, taking a deep breath before starting. The fluorescent lighting bright everything around they, making the place feel more artificial. The small, crossed marks that painted her skin were there, fully shown to a man. It felt weird, the situation turning a bit uncomfortable to her to concentrate. She breathed in and out several times, her mind working a way to start telling him about it. In an unusual movement, he raised his hand and touched Laura's shoulder, taking a sip of the coffee left in his mug and assuring, “I can wait. Class' doing work and I'm not asking anything beyond what happened there.” Laura looked at him, stormy eyes gazing hazelnut. “Don’t worry.”   

The mood improved considerably after that. She breathed in and out one more time, slowly and careful with herself. “Okay, okay,  oka - So, I was at the council reunion and this girl Layla-  her name's   Lila. Yes,  Lila .  She comes very rude towards a boy. I say 'that's not cool' really loud and she shuts down after offending me.” She turned to see his reaction, being answered with a nod to continue. “Then it ends and I go to drink water. She comes after me and push me, beating me right in the head. I passed out. I think I really panicked, I even tried to apologize even if wasn’t my fault, at least I think it was not, right?”   

“You suffered an  attack;  it isn't your fault. Got It?” Deschamps said after a sigh. This caused Laura to raise a brow. “I think that's enough. Stay here miss  Belrose , your parent is coming to get you. Thanks for collaborating with us and don't worry about a thing, okay?”   

He got up and slightly tapped the girl's back. Laura watched as he got up and started to walk towards the door. The girl suddenly thought about a last doubt and called him.    

“Mr. Deschamps! Is Marinette okay?”   

There was a weird pause followed by a simple, yet intriguing response. “…Well... She’ll be fine. Now, get a rest.”  

And he left.  

 

“I never expected that from you, Rossi. We are very, very disappointed. What was the cost to call one of us and speak up? Why attack instead of talk?”   

The air was heavy and negative, only the teacher's voice was heard amid Lila's copious sobs and her mother's angry gasps each time something already said was repeated over and over again. That wasn’t uncommon, there was always the feeling of guilt when Mme. Bustier started her long monologues, even if you were just a listener. She was always gentle in serious situations, even with a tough subject, but nothing could justify an aggression. And even the kindest persons have limits in themselves.   

In Lila's version, Laura just fell on the ground to escape a conversation and it scared Lila out. Marinette was denser: Laura fainted and Lila did nothing to help. When Mr. Deschamps came around and explained Laura’s side with the details, Marinette was able to open the topic and explain with details the council incident which resulted in an unreasonable reaction.   

Marinette gulped. The situation could turn in many ways, and most of them had an akuma involved. She was also surprised they only called Lila’s relative for the meeting. Laura’s was called but must to pick up her daughter and get a note from the incident. As if they were trying to damage control part of the situation.   

Mr. Damocles was holding his final words, waiting for Caline to end her speech, his eyes gazing each person in the office. When she noticed him, there was the realization of Lila's fate for the day. She went away inside her mind, just thinking more and more about the possibilities-   

“Marinette, Mme. Bishop knows about the situation so there’s no problem to go back to class.”  

The noirette blinked in surprise. “That means I'm…”  

“Free to go, yes.” The redhead woman gave Marinette a reassuring smile. “Thank you for your time.”   

Marinette slowly rose from her chair. Her legs felt heavy and her hands heavier. At the doorknob, she gave a last glance at Lila. Green, tearful eyes, staring directly at her soul, as if she was waiting for something. A word, a victorious smile, perfect fit for a movie scene. But there was none. Just a tired, carried sigh led by the wood creaking and the closing click behind the noirette. And then there was nothing, only the empty hallway and the cold wind blow beneath her hair.   

   

   

    ·  ·

    

   

Something happened.   

Something really, really bad happened.   

Plagg  was strangely restless during the afternoon, and even worst during the night. He murmured things in an unknown language and rummaged through his shirt. An unusual behavior that began to disturb the Agreste in several ways from the start. And since there was no way to communicate because of the language barrier during the crisis, the situation only got worse before getting considerable better. Not enough, but at least better. He felt a fever; his body warm in  an  unnatural way. The coughing and falling were killing him.   

And they had just returned from an  akuma  attack. The victim was young athlete angry with his gymnastic leader, and he decided to turn the Champs-Elysées into a gigantic gym for jealousy purposes, and if it wasn’t for Kitsune's Illusion working for the time he would have actually died smashed by almost 100kg of steel in the street alley. Ladybug seemed out of herself that day for personal reasons, but she still came almost desperate to see if he was okay. Not dead, but he was okay.  Plagg  wasn’t, however, and  Plagg  was Chat Noir.   

It was sleep time,  Plagg  was eating the smelly camembert around the room as he would always do after a battle, but Adrien was just so worried about him he just stayed staring at the  kwami  the entire time, and  Plagg  wasn’t even swallowing the entire cheese in one bite, but instead he was in a slow, bite per bite eating, in more than ten minutes. Only after the small god finished that the blonde felt able to take a bath and get some sleep.   

“Plagg, what’s going on?” he asked, tired eyes gazing his little partner.  

“Nothing’s happening, kid. It’s just complicated.” Plagg coughed, as if he was in a heavy cold.

“Maybe Master Fu can help you on that. I can take you there tomorrow, what about it?” He asked hopefully for a positive response.   

“No, I'll be  fine  by tomorrow.”  Plagg  emphasis was harsh enough to scary Adrien. What does he mean by that? Why is he acting like this? “I need a good night rest, and when I say I, I mean we. You seemed pretty worried about that new girl so…”  

Adrien decided to get into  Plagg's  conversation, because it was obvious he didn’t want any talk about his weird acting. “Why wouldn’t I? Mari's a friend, and she seemed so strange after coming back.  Of course  the dots connect.”   

“That proves you actually didn’t  change  since that incident, but that wasn’t the point.”  Plagg  rolled around and found a place in Adrien’s pillow. “How’d you feel?”   

“…”   

“Adrien.”   

“I can't help, alright?” Adrien said. “After Lila, I can’t stop thinking about what people can do, and  how  they can do. It's just… I can't stop.”   

“It’s okay.”  Plagg  replied, watching as his holder made his way to bed. He yawned and kept going, “Sometimes it's hard to open up, and since that girl is still around it might suck to going around this new chick, and since I was  born,  I know-”  

The little god of destruction started coughed hard, almost suffocating himself before Adrien help him to get up and caught enough air.  

“…I need more cheese.”   

“Or maybe some help from the guardian.”   

“...No.”   

“C’mon I can talk to Ladybug during patrol, there’s no problem to-” He turned around just to see Plagg already asleep in the pillow. He let out a weak smile in lips, turning off the lights and giving himself a rest too. Hopefully by the next days, answers would come in.  

Chapter Text


Returning to school never felt so weirder. Before that, she was unsure if she could go a day after the incident, a bad feeling they would get some kind of reprisal from that girl. That’s what she thought before her mother gave the news about Lila’s suspensions after a phone call. Relief, but also guilt, crossed her mind for the moment. She caused a lot of confusion in one day, and all she wanted was to have a peaceful time in school without any drama, but apparently that was impossible too. Miranda was quick to convince her to go the next day – if she was feeling good enough, of course – and the girl accepted. Laura wasn’t the type of girl who gives up so easily, and it was only a Thursday.  

Having to wear a long-sleeved red shirt because of her lost jacket, she did the same as the day before and faced the long traffic, having time to reach school time minutes before the first class. There, she greeted by Misa in the school’s front hall – surprise, she was actually added in the WhatsApp group – and the same questions pinned in.  

“But you didn’t have a stroke, right?”  

“No? I just passed out, and... That was what happened.  

“What a relief. It’s good to know you’re fine, Lana.”  

“Laura.”  

“Sorry!” The greenish giggled. “We were worried about you, really. Ah, I have to go, but please, don’t mind the people trying to pick on you, okay?”  

“What does that mean-”  

The sudden doubt was interrupted by a massive horde of curious teenagers suddenly crowding around her, all asking and almost demanding what happened and how it happened. All of sudden, Laura saw herself being the center of attention to everyone inside that building. Misa was practically kicked out from her side, and had to wave bye at distance. Only after that Laura was able to focus and ask why they were so freaked out.  

Apparently, Lila had told her best friends in a call that she was attacked after the council incident and Laura faked being hurt and threw herself into Mr. Deschamps arms to get away with the act and put Lila in the bad place. Laura was quick to rebut the fallacy with an incredible patience – because she wasn’t in the best mood for any of that – showing the small bruise on her head and the thin scars that had remained on her scalp that prover her side.  

How’s she came up with such a ridiculous lie? It was kind of funny seeing the student's reaction when she prover her side, almost as if they’ve never seen something similar. It felt odd. It wasn’t cool to be harassed like that, and she was quicker to shove them off and go to her classroom without any more words.  

Once again, odd. And not cool.  

As she entered the classroom, there was a full minute of dead silence replacing the usual chatting with the sole reason to simply stare at her. Discomfort tightened even more a she closed the door behind her and began to make her way to her seat. Froom the corner of the eye, Laura saw Marinette there, quiet and holding something under the desk by her hands' position. Her heart busted in nervousness and her hands tightened in her backpack’s straps just as her blood pressure.   

Oh, no, she wasn’t going to pass out again. She wasn’t there for being the center of attention for a fragile health. It was there she didn’t notice a foot stretched out in the aisle until she went hard in the upper step with her heel, making her jump when a loud cry busted by her side. It was the bubblegum haired girl. Alix, if she could recollect.  

Perdão, I didn’t mean to-”  

“You stepped in her feet on purpose!” A brown girl screamed all of sudden. She had an almost despaired expression in her face, a phone turned in the video mode pointed right at her. Laura stood there with boiled confusion inside her head and obvious confusion painted in her face. Where’d that girl came from?  

“Huh?” Laura mumbled at first, blinking in confusion, still trying to comprehend the situation. The class expression was divided: half of them seemed in disbelief, and the other was... Angry? When she looked below, Alix was holding her feet with a pained expression on her face, and with a little work she actually realized. The soft reddish hair and stylish journalist-like glasses made her memory return to the first day, with the two girls in the front row mocking Marinette. One was Lila, and the other, “It was an accident.”  

“It wasn’t.”  

“Alya, please. Stop it. She was apologizing.” A boy in his headphones called the reddish haired girl out. Her name was Alya? Right. Alya.  

“No, she wasn’t!” Alya said in a very hurtful tone, almost as if she was in Alix’s place. “She did the same with Lila!”  

“Here we go again...” Laura heard Chloé’s voice from behind, raspier than what she remembered being. “Class is about to start, Alya. Can you please stop with such ridiculous scandal?”  

“Oh, Bourgeois, don’t try to be the good one. You are one of the bad apples that poisoned the newbie, and now you’re trying to cover her crimes?” Césaire crossed her arms in indignation.  

Laura swallow in abash. She looked to the platinum blonde, who had a plain ‘don’t worry I got this’ expression, and looked above to see Marinette, and the bluenette didn’t seemed impressed with Alya’s show, only messing with her backpack. She actually stared at Laura in return, and tried to babble something with her lips as she averted her gaze below while doing it.  

Laura gazed Alix, and the small girl’s body gesture was clearly denouncing the embarrassment. Alya didn’t stopped, but Laura’s mind did. Because all of sudden she was in the middle of a discussion for...? She knew it was because of her being the reason why Lila was suspended, but screaming and throwing such a tantrum for this?  

Childish.  

“There’s no reason for doing this.” Chloé had a very unimpressed reaction, only spinning her heels forward and facing Alya direct in the eye. “And you know that.”  

“Don’t try to change the situation. If she’s capable of hurting a friend, how can we trust-”  

Laura cleared her throat, calling the class’s attention. Looking down, she placed a hand on Alix’s shoulder. With a yelp, the blonde was able to formulate the necessary words. “Alix, right?” The skater nodded, and Laura offered a warm smile to clean the mood. “Sorry for tripping in your feet, that wasn’t my intention. I’ll be careful next, hope you’ll be too, okay?”  

“Wow... Okay!” Kubdel nodded, even forgetting the pain in the skin. The smile was too contagious and she couldn’t help but smile back at Belrose. With that, Laura took a step back and gazed Marinette, who seemed more relieved than anything. Softness being replace with a cold look when she turns around again. Chloé, in other hand, had some more few words to say, and her response was blank as expected.  

“...Whatever.” Alya hissed, turning off her phone and returning to her seat in silence.  

And the class mood changed again, as if nothing in the last two minutes ever happened. There were still glares, but not a word to incite more fire into the discussion to keep it going. Laura finally sat down, the weight in her shoulders passing. Tension she didn’t even notice having. Marinette sighed, coming closer to touch Laura’s shoulder. “Sorry about that.”  

Laura shrugged, butterflies flapping in her stomach. “Hey, no worries.”  

“Are you feeling better?”  

“Yes. Still a bit nauseous, but that’s already a part.”  

“It is?” Marinette cocked her head a bit confused.  

Laura narrowed her eyes in nuisance for letting that slip. As French being her second language, of course some things would come out without her noticing. She faced off to pass the same ‘no worries' vibe, but failing duo the fact she was tired from explaining so much about her health for the sole reason she couldn’t keep her mouth shut.  

“Yes, I have some problems regarding blood pressure and nervous system.” Marinette gasped. “No, no! Nothing to really worry about. It’s just sometimes it can have some long-term effects. Sometimes. Today I'm only dizzy and trembling a little, but I’m fine for the day.”  

“Ew, do you need some water to help?” Chloé’s question shifted the one-line talk. Oops, they were there too.  

“No, I’m skipping the water fountain, thank you.” Laura joked, but it was clear the worried aura coming from them.  

“But are you really okay? I mean, with them?” Sabrina was the one asking, almost whispering to not call attention. “Alya almost put everyone against   you. ” The redhead quickly looked at Marinette before gave the final emphasis.  

“I’ve dealt with these kinds of people before.” Laura said simply. “I should know already because they are everywhere. But really, it's okay. I'm okay, okay?”  

As class started with Mr. Belford, Laura tracked herself into geography. Still whispering small conversations with the three girls, the unsettling feeling died down within minutes. Marinette was quiet as always, but still had a reassuring smile in her lips that melted Laura’s heart every single time. She was just so cute when discussing about tropics and meridians, there was no way to conceal the urge to giggle and suspire in joy.  

Maybe it was too confusing to get so many feelings in a short amount of time. An hour she was annoyed by some kids, then confused by a drama girl, then peaceful to talk about herself, and then in a state of living dreaming with the first girl she met in school. Sometimes she would hear from her grandmother she was a chameleon, always adapting her ways to be in different scenarios, malleable as hot metal.  

But in all of this, there was no way to deny the energy each one of them emit around. The goth girl, for example, had an actual soft emo aura, and Laura didn’t know why she felt that. She just felt. For Marinette, there would be a blinding magnet that had attracted her into for some reason since the first day. She would still recall the muffled voice calling her name, even if it was in that situation, the memory felt welcoming.  

Was Laura being a creep for thinking like that?  

She tried to focus during the time before the first break. And when the bell ringed, there was a new introduction.  

She met Nathaniel and Juleka – the artist and the goth, respectively – and learned more about 3e-1 class dynamics. Everyone there was a colleague, but they did not act like a gang. Nathaniel also took the opportunity to thank Laura for giving Marc the time to not get in despair. They talked a lot about her with his boyfriend, apparently. She got blushes by that. He also showed to her a piece of his sketchbook while Juleka ventured over her dilemma involving composing an original song for the Winter Ball. A topic that brought Laura too much interest.  

“But what about making a cover?” Belrose suggested. “It would be way easier.”  

“Well, it would be an option if someone didn’t  spoil  about my stuff!” Juleka's eyes accusingly gazed Chloé, who gasped faking being offended.  

“Talk to your brother next time!” The platinum blonde responded, poking her head into Sabrina's shoulder. “He was the one who caused you these tons of headaches.”  

“Talking about Luka, is he okay?” Marinette suddenly asked, her tone actually giving Laura weird vibes.  

“He's good, only focusing on his chores and not helping me at all.” The younger Couffaine said without any excitement. Laura got curious. Who was this Luka – besides of him being Juleka’s brother –? “Anyhow, I only have two months to think about something, or else…”  

“The cover is still a good idea, maybe just searching for a good one can help.” Nath retouched Laura’s giving, talking right after. “I also told Jule about that but she wasn’t in the mood to talk about remixes.”  

“Did someone say remix?” Another voice joined the conversation. The tanned headphone boy from before. He seemed happy to catch the phrase in time, giggling at himself right after. Juleka gasped in surprise and took a few steps back to stay behind Laura, her hands placing in the blonde’s head. “Hey there, name’s Nino.”  

“Laura. Nice to meet you.” Laura formally replied, patting Juleka’s arm to calm her down – and yes, Juleka was trembling – and shake hands with him.  

By his side there was another boy, also by the same height. His gold blonde hair was ridiculously well brushed and his eyes were too shiny by the gloomy illumination. He was wearing a rich, and by rich she means a really expensive white coat, big enough to swallow him alive. “Hi.”  

“Hello~!” Chloé greeted. “Laura, this is Adrien. He and Nino are like Sabrina and I.” She crossed her fingers.  

“Oh, right.” Nino rolled his eyes with a laugh. Laura felt Juleka’s hands tightening in her back. Sweet lord, what kind of lore was she getting into? “Sorry for what happened there. But it's really nice to have a chill newbie around.”  

Chill, right.    

“I appreciate that.” Laura stammered. She looked over Marinette who was pacified with the scenario. Laura turned to Adrien once again, and a shadow made her eyes prank her mind. “You seem familiar...” Laura snapped her fingers, pointing at him. “ Eu te conheçoHey, aren't you-”  

As soon Adrien gave a detailed look at Laura to respond, he patted his pocket with an angry flash, almost as if he was hitting on something inside. He coughed, purring a smile at his face. Oh, seeing now, he had some disguised purple circles under his eyes.  

“Well, I work as a model. Maybe you've seen me before.” He chuckled. “It's nice to see a new friendly face around.”  

“Actually, I'm sure- wait, forget, what's your name?”  

“Adrien Agreste.”  

“Oh… Right. It’s nice to meet you, anyway.” Laura finally composed herself, her eyes still narrowed towards the Agreste. There was something there.  

“Maybe a remix wouldn’t be bad at all.” Juleka suddenly said, the focus going back to music.  

“Really?” Nino exclaimed, his amber eyes glimmered in excitement. “I would love to test my new mix table! That would be the best!”  

And by that, they kept changing topic over topic. Laura only being the listener most of the times. Adrien and Marinette seemed in the same boat, for some reason, Marinette being completely aliened away from the entire thing, just at the bottom staying in her own world. It was a weird vision, because Marinette completely has the talkative persona, or maybe not the entire time? It was fine, if she felt like that, it was okay.  

The storm came in the next period, they had to change to the lab, and Laura sat with Sabrina, because Marinette had to go somewhere and only returned fifteen minutes later with the teacher. Apart from being stranger than the akuma attack, Laura met the last teacher form the main courses, being Mme. Mendeleiev, the physics, science and math teacher all in one. The first thing Laura had to do was a quiz of knowledge about geometry. She was able to pass, but at what cost? Trauma, perhaps. When the real study work came in, she felt relieved for knowing the bare minimal.  

In lunch break, the table was fuller with Chloé and Sabrina, but Mari was nowhere to be seen. ‘She lunches at home, don’t worry’, that’s what Bourgeois said, and she remember that. The first time was filled with silence, and the two girls were fun to get along. The only uneasy thing was noticing the Agreste boy staring at her time by time at distance, sometimes disguising paying attention to the others, even with Nino being loud and unaware of his volume with Juleka and Nathaniel. Laura tried to ignore that, she really did, going pass the rest of the day until have no sigh of him. Because of that, she didn’t have any more interactions with the bluenette.  

Laura was finally able to have her first special French class with Mme Bustier. She never thought the teachers in that school would be that cool, but after spending the time alone with the redhead woman, she was able to understand why the students seemed to attached, and she started to value a bit more Mr. Deschamps helping words given to her. There, she was even able to hear the fencing lessons in the background. The tutoring was nice, and she made her wat out of that place was quickly as possible, with nobody bothering here.  

Same couldn’t be said during her subway line passage. An old lady started to scream slurs to her because during her phone call, she talked to her mom in Portuguese. She felt so small and unable to do anything, and seeing the other passengers just letting the situation happen, she forced herself to stop two lines before her destination and walk alone until home.  

When she finally reached home, there was three things waiting for her: a happy dog, a frozen lasagna and a note from her mother on the fridge telling she would spend the entire night at the embassy. The news obviously made her sad, but that was understandable, but the real bummer was when she remembered there was homework for the next day. By that, Laura did the same as before: food and water for the dog, dinner for her, then homework. The bath stayed last for a reason.  

The bathroom was simple. A white marble sink with a cabinet for toiletries and an oval mirror at the center. The toilet and tub had the same color as the sink, the silver metal shower and the blue curtain wide open showing the red coloration being washed away in the drain. She closed the shower and wiped her hair, curling her head in the towel and putting on the same yellow pajamas. In just a few hours the magic would happen, for sure.  

Her phone was ringing since she turned the notifications on. The group chats. She was in but never actually interacted. A ghost, to be clear. But there were so many rings that it was actually scary. Something happened? She clicked and by surprise there was more than +200 messages.  This was fine .  

  

[kagami]: “Jacques cheated and the referee didn’t see it again. It’s not the first time and it’s annoying.”

[misa]: “what a dickhead!”

[misa]: “ dont worry because  you have the moral win”

[kagami]: “You’re right.”

[jeanne] : “oh hey  laura is online”

“Hi!”    

[jeanne]: “ didnt see you today. Misa said u got in trouble. is everything okay?”    

“I mean”

“ Im alive so im good”

[jeanne]: “ thats a relief. we really were mourning thinking you died drowned with all of them over you”

“Um no  im  pretty sure im fine :-)”

“but I really appreciate it.”

[kagami]: “Don’t mind these two, Belrose.  Good to see you’re okay.”

“You know my surname?”

kagami]: “Marinette told me.”

kagami]: “I actually would really like to have a conversation with you soon.”

kagami]: “About some necessary things.”

kagami]: “Can you find me before the fencing training tomorrow ?”

[misa]: “ :O”

  

Laura blinked one, two, three times before letting out the equivalent of a scream out of her throat. What was that supposed to mean? A conversation after class? Alone with a girl who could scare everyone in the room with a look? Who also could take her breath away? No, but no. Why? She wanted to talk about what? Marinette? Could it be- No, possible not. She hoped not. The seconds kept passing and she didn’t know what to say. But that was a yes or no, so she was quick to type the answer and turn off her phone as fast as she could.  

  

“okay.” 

[kagami] : “Great. I need to go now.” 

[kagami]: “I see you three later.”

[misa] : “.bye.”

[jeanne]: “there she goes”    

[jeanne]: “that was really something right laura?”    

[jeanne]: “laura?”    

 

Chapter Text


 

On Friday morning, dark skies and cold accompanied the dawn. The school mood was the opposite, perhaps. Weekend meant two days free from school and the ugly gray clouds couldn’t contain the excitement around Dupont’s woody corners with warm and teenagers loudly jumping around  and planning  about what they were going to do during the weekend between each other.   

Just another day, probably.   

Entering the classroom, Laura sighed and closed down her umbrella. It was empty, which was rather strange. Some of them chatting on the floor below, maybe that was a deliberate choice. But Laura wasn’t in the mood to question.   

First, she decided that drying her hair at night was a good idea—it wasn’t. Now, she had to hide the terrible result in a huge red hoodie. Maybe she had to pay more attention to chemistry and not mess up again. Second, Romeo, her dog that for some reason couldn’t stop barking the entire night made her resting hours restless, and she didn’t catch any break to actually sleep until late morning where she had to wake up. It would be a miracle if she didn’t fall asleep during the first classes. She really needed some luck right now.

She only took a few steps in the ladder and was surprised by a hand suddenly pressing against her back. She gasped, turning so fast that her hip hit the first table. Laura fell on the ground. 

“Ouch. Sorry, I didn’t mean it.” Adrien gasped, reaching down to help her. “Good morning.” 

“...Day.” Laura pressed up the hurt area, already feeling that it would leave a big bruise there. In note, that was the second time somebody caused her to be harmed, this one being the first accidental—at least she thinks it was. 

“I tried to talk to you yesterday, but you disappeared.” He tried to talk, but Laura shrugged off. 

“I wasn’t in the mood.” 

“Oh.” 

“It’s fine.” 

“Are you okay now, though?” 

“…no.” 

“...Ah, sorry.” The blonde backed off. “But I really wanted to talk to you.” He tried again, his hands moving fast inside his pockets. “We… I need to.” 

Laura felt a shiver ran down her spine, and  looking at him made her realize why.

There was an unkind energy running around him. The way his posture straightened up after her question, the harsh tiring gaze in his green dim eyes along with the purple bags under them, as if part of his life stamina had been drained and he was dealing with the aftermath of some harsh tragedy. 

That wasn’t an excuse for yesterday’s behavior, but it was, indeed, odd to see.

“We can talk later.” She cut him again, and she saw the expectation glimmering on him. She had to keep it cool, so Laura leaned down to meet him in the eyes. “After class, or another time. Okay?” 

“...Alright… Alright, alright.” He kept saying and then smiled at her. A tired, really dragged smile that doesn’t pass unnoticed by someone, and only made her feel stranger than before. “We’ll talk about it later. Thank you so much.” 

Belrose took a deep breath. Had he thanked her because? That boy was weird, that’s for sure.

There was no other words to say, so they just stayed in silence for a few seconds, staring at each other for no reason except they were the only ones at the room. Laura didn’t wanted to drag the scene further so she turned around and went straight to her seat, leaving him alone next to his seat. 

Rain started to pour out again outside when the others came in. Nino was talking with Juleka and immediately shifted his focus to Adrien. 

“Dude, you look absolutely destroyed. What happened?” Lahiffe gasped. She also heard Nino asking Adrien about a weird smell right after, and the blonde said something about his father’s new fragrances. That wasn’t believable but Nino eat up very well. 

“Hey, Laura.” She looked aside to see Juleka in front of her, blushing really bad with her hands tied in her gothic backpack. “Do you mind me sitting with you today?” 

“Hm? Why?” She frowned. 

“It’s because… Nathaniel is going to an appointment with his parents and I will be alone at the seat.” She explained, very timid. “And also… Marinette isn't feeling good so we'll both be alone.” 

“What?” The girl blinked in confusion. Juleka took off her smartphone from her bag and handed over to her. Laura waited the Couffaine's texts to load, and yes, she was right. It was Marinette, with a black picture icon, saying something about not feeling good – in these words really – and trusting Juleka to send the news to the class, meaning Laura too. 

“I talked with everyone but…” She pursued her thin lips. “It doesn’t matter, I needed to warn you. You're under her wing, after all.” 

“Yeah… I mean, thank you for telling me that, Jule.” Laura suddenly found herself smiling. “She’s going to be okay tho , right?” 

Jukela nodded a little more comfortable, just like the last day.

“I’m sure she will. Marinette's a pro. Just give the time.” 

Laura felt relief with the words, but was still worried. They sat along and the classroom became fuller within minutes. Sabrina and Chloé, the Alya girl, and Alix alongside the others. Trying to get out the bittersweet taste from the previous scenes, she spent the time talking with Juleka about school and music, thus distracting her for the short period of time inside the classroom before Mme. Bishop started a long philosophical rant about morality. 

Laura fell asleep halfway through. 

 

... 

 

Dreams were the absolute worst. 

It had been a long time since he'd had a dream connected with her last days in her old home. It was just a memory from her last birthday, but it hurt in the same way as a slap in the face. 

She missed the ocean’s breeze alongside the burning sunlight, the music that would play on the radio, the jokes and accents drawn to x all the time. She missed her old friends, she missed her old teachers, she missed her grandma and aunts, she missed... Not being a stranger. 

As the bell rang, awakening seems worse than she'd ever thought it would be. 

In a flash, the room was empty and there was only her alone; and next to her arm there as a note from Juleka with a brief summary of the last class subjects. As she took the paper, a sharp pain began to form inside her chest, and her vision began to blur altogether. 

Of course, it had to be under a letter format, because that’s what she needed after relapsing the past. 

Her nose burned and her eyes tightened, Laura knew she was going to start crying there. Facing the emptiness, she let herself go for a few sobs and tears before swallowing the sadness and wiping her face to hid everything. Laura’s face twisted before her phone screen and she took off the hoodie, showing her now chin heighted haircut, dyed in cherry red. 

She would thank her mother later for trying to save that mess, and she chuckled with the sudden though. 

“You look destroyed.” 

Laura let out a loud shriek when she noticed the Japanese girl by her side, sitting on Juleka's place as if she was there the whole time waiting for Laura' notice her presence. Well, now she did. 

There was Kagami Tsurugi, the girl who texted her the day before, seeing her breakdown from a VIP seat. Was she there since the beginning or she suddenly came from nowhere? The girl was quick, she couldn’t lie, but  damn  it that was faster than her crying seconds before. 

"How much did you see?" 

"Enough." she narrowed her dark-hazel eyes and handed over a bottle of strawberry juice. "Here, take a sip." 

Laura noticed there her throat was dry and a bit hurt, accepting the drink only to gasp at the first sip because of the sugar. Kagami raised her hands as if instructing them to calm down, which eventually worked a little. 

In what felt like an eternity, Laura let herself pay attention to the noirette girl. She was calm, a smile between her gasps now and then, but always keeping the same serious expression as the first time she saw her. 

“Now, we can finally do business.” Kagami got up from the seat. Something seemed a bit out of order with her aura, but it was because of the outfit she wore: a vibrant reddish winter sweater, brown short jeans with black leggings and boots decorated with a golden Japanese emblem on each side. It almost looked like another person from far.

“Do you want to lunch at the school or somewhere else?” 

Laura blinked in surprise.

“Somewhere else?” She asked, a little dumbfounded. How much classes she missed to be lunchtime already?

“Yes or no?” 

“I mean, we can-” 

“Yes or no.” 

“Okay! Okay! We can go to your place or- I don’t work under pressure. I’m sorry.” 

“It’s alright, no need to get in pressure here.” Kagami assured her, understanding what was said. "Just follow me then." 

 

… 

 

The food place wasn’t as crowded as it seemed, but it still took a few minutes for them to place the order. Laura remembered having ordered two snacks with her mother on a branch closer to her house, an hour later the fries were cold and the hamburgers dry, so she hoped things could be better there with the desserts. 

Maybe she was focused on the food for not having eaten anything but orange juice for breakfast or being too nervous about being with Kagami in public. If that were a question, the answer would be yes to both. 

The night before, she did a quick research about Kagami, because if seeing about Chloé on the internet so easily and the school being a magnet for rich kids with relatively important parents, there could be something about Kagami. There was. 

The Tsurugi family has been known for being one of the best and most respectful Olympic medalists of the last four decades. Belrose had the blurry memory of a man called Taiga Tsurugi winning a gold when the event happened in her town, but that part had gone unnoticed because she was not the best sports fan in any record.

Kagami was a golden girl, perfect in any sense, so why in hell would she even be close to Laura?

“So, what do you prefer?” Kagami asked, already taking out the money from her expensive white bag. 

“Hm, I'll…” Laura stopped, gazing the menu with trembling eyes. “I think I'm just going to take an… Chocolate cake?” 

“Is that a question?” Kagami raised a brow. “Don’t worry.” 

“N-No! I’m taking the chocolate cake!” She chirped and looked away almost instantly. Kagami only nodded in response.

The two girls sat at the table close to the window. Laura was being discreet, clapping her nails in the chair, looking out and watching the drizzle between the cars and lights in the street. Kagami was also quiet, but while watching the girl, hands clasped beneath her chin, half smile on her lips. 

“So," Kagami cleared her throat, drawing the other's attention. “You must be wondering why I called you.” 

Laura’s eyes lifted up. 

“Many things had happened there before you came, but I don’t think I've seen so much damage within two days. It’s usually a week or month of drama and chaos, but this time it went full circle.” She kept going. “I don’t mean it to sound negative, but you sure did an impression. You helped a boy who was ready to become an akuma and in the same day became the reason why a student was suspended.” 

“Look,” The dark-skinned girl interrupted. “I’ve never wanted to cause such drama. I-I don’t even think this qualifies as a drama...” 

“It sounds weird, I know. I’m not here to guilt you or something similar.” Kagami gestured with her hands. “I actually want to help you understand everything.” 

 

… 

 

The tea had a good, hot pipping sweet taste. 

“It’s peppermint.” 

“Hm, never had one so good before.” 

The two girls hummed in agreement, putting the drinks down the table. 

“So, are you saying that Lila has been manipulating the entire school for more than a year and yet only you and some people were able to break through her lies?” 

“Correct.” Kagami nodded. “I was almost tricked into the web too, but a friend reached out before it was too late.” 

Laura looked down at their plates. She had already eaten her entire chocolate cake, a few pieces of melted ice cream at the border. Kagami was still enjoying her treats, a plate filled with zero sugary flavors made specially for the athlete. 

Kagami was saying so much, and yet it was extremely confusing to understand. The fact Kagami would excuse and not say names and jump some moments thorough the conversation was giving the missing link impression to Laura, and that’s not a good thing to give when you're basically exposing the entire school, which Kagami was doing there. 

“Did you almost fell for her?” The innocent question felt suddenly heavy, and noticeable heavy in Tsurugi’s shoulders. There was a light blush on Kagami’s cheeks, but her blank face brought a different meaning to the red. “I didn’t mean to-” 

“I have many feelings about Rossi. Most of them are negative, perhaps. I wouldn’t have fallen into her talks, but simply ignored it. It wasn’t my problem, so why should I care at all?” The dark-brown eyes were now gazing the plate, the words coming out in a low rasp. “But then someone got hurt, and I saw myself as an enabler to her actions. It was my first day as a student at Dupont, and I let my frustration out.” 

Laura became speechless, gray eyes trembling while looking at the centered, calm girl. A long silence filled with other costumers' grunts and cutlery sounds spaced the two girls until Tsurugi break it again. 

“You got hurt, but also brought justice into the table. That’s the game changer here.” Kagami looked up again. “I want to help you. Rossi now has your name under the radar just like Marinette’s, so I will take you under my wing.” 

“Excuse me?” Laura let out an almost incredulous squeak. “Is this some kind of joke? ” 

No, it’s not.” Kagami replied in the same language, but a lot more pushed to a thick European accent. “I've been studying Portuguese for a while, but don’t worry, there’s no need to pay for this lunch. Your whispers are very loud in this case.” 

Alright then,” She sighed in defeat. There was no way she could snap something back to  Kagami after that. “but why’s Marinette under the radar? ” 

Because she was the first one to realize she was lying.” Kagami soothed, cleaning her throat. “That’s why.

Silence, once again.

Laura didn't said something else. Not for the moment. She didn't needed to.

A shiver ran down her hands, crossing her fingertips and touching the table. It was a click. A new piece of information added in a sudden more complicated puzzle: she wasn’t there because of her own history, but because of a third-party drama that fell into her for pure coincidence. It wasn’t because of the council discussion, but because she was with Marinette. 

Now it was her problem too. 

 

Chapter Text


 

Kagami felt heavy and almost ready to call it a day after the conversation. 

But she didn’t, and the rest of the day followed as exhausting as the others. Misa and Jeanne asking about what happened being follow by her own one-sentence replies. Her legs became wobbly when Misa questioned if she talked about her fist with Rossi. 

“Only what she needed to know.” 

The rest of the class followed the same pattern, except with the last class—history class, with their guardian teacher M. Deschamps, who had a strange look of suspicion at her. It was unbearable, as if he knew about the things she’d said before. The last break was her final freedom. At fencing class, however, D’Argencourt seem to notice the girl’s fatigue and her very odd behavior, and constantly asked if she needed a break. 

“No need to worries.” She said under her fencing mask, “I’m perfectly fine and I can win this round.” 

And she won. 

When the instructor called the end, the noirette only sighed in relief. While letting herself being carried away by the instructor's last words, she noticed the weird attitude of her mates, wondering why they were so happy at that hour. It took her long seconds before being reminded that it was Friday, and that the Ball was again under the students' tips. 

The Winter Ball. How could Kagami forgot the topic that started this week’s downward spiral? It was practically coming in a few weeks, and people were actually excited for it. It was a pretty pathetic concept at first, but her special one was helping with technical issues, so it was less pathetic, even nice to say. But now she was worried. It would be definitely the final straw for someone. 

An Akuma, for Kitsune’s dismay. 

But at the end of the day, she was just a teenager that wants to have a good time with the few people that care about her. The sole reason why she was having a small, minimal bit of a positive hope about the Winter Ball. But the excuses for making the council reunions a chaos because of the discourse was really shaking her nerves. 

Her surprise was when she came across the empty toilets, the last students present leaving without even changing their clothes. This was strange, but she understood in a way. The enthusiasm was almost—almost—contagious. Even more, a surprise came right behind her when she finally noticed the blonde figure standing alone next to her locker. 

"Oh." she said giving a smirk to her. 

"Hi ‘gamie." Chloé waved excitedly, waiting for the Japanese girl to approach and wrap her in a tight, pleasing hug. "I finished my part sooner, so here I am! How was today?" 

“Tough.” Kagami said, holding the blonde around the waist and giving her a soft kiss on her lips. "I cannot wait to take off this uniform and go home." She finished and turned to her locker to pick her belongings. 

“Want company?” Chloé said in a malicious voice. Kagami raised a brow, making Chloé laugh in return. “But no, seriously, do you want a company there?” 

“Of course.” Kagami replied winking at her. Chloé would always lift her when she felt bummed, and thus making her more flirty than normal. They both headed the showers. They were empty. “How’s the preparations for the Ball?” 

“Oh, it’s going great. Without my touch they’ll be completely lost. And the snowflake touches Nath gave to the vases is stunning. I’ll show you soon.” She laughed along the words. Kagami remained silent only listening while she got her stuff to shower until Chloé started to stumble around other topics. “And I really can’t wait to go, and I was hoping that, I mean, going as more than an organizer but also... You are going too, right?” 

“Perhaps.” They reached the benches in front of the booths and Kagami was quick to curl up in the bath towel. “It’s not every day that such a thing happens for good reasons.” 

“You’re right.” But Chloé shook her head. “But you’re going alone or?” 

Kagami’s eyes narrowed. “What kind of question is that?” 

“I mean- I know you'll do it! But I'm kind of nervous because of your mom and, y'know...” Kagami didn’t said anything, only turned towards the shower and went in, leaving Chloé thinking about her words. “I messed up.” 

“You didn’t.” 

“But you’re mad, aren’t you?” 

“Of course not.” 

“Then...?” More silence, added with the muffled sound of the water hitting the floor. It remained this way for more uncountable minutes before the shower power went off. Kagami got out with the towel and went to the locker room. When she came back with her previous casual outfit, she gave Chloé a touch. “It’s about Tomoe, right?” 

“Your mother, yes. She doesn’t like me and we’re going fully out as a couple and I’m scared in a sort of a way and—” 

“Chloé.” 

“Yes?” 

“It doesn’t matter what my mother says. She isn’t the one defining who I am or what I do. We're girlfriends, and next month everybody will know that because we’re going together to the Ball and burn it all.” 

Family became a complicated issue after she came out. They still treated her well and had the same expectations, but some comments and glares were hurtful enough. Kagami was even considering leaving fencing to pursue another way of life simply because of that. In the end, she wanted to be happy. “And you didn’t mess up for questioning this, okay?” 

“Okay.” 

They walked out alongside some other students. They were also in a hurry because of the rain, but a white limo was already waiting for the two girls outside. Kagami glanced Chloé, and she still had the silly smile on her face. Tsurugi remembered that once Sabrina told that Chloé was a very flustered person, but only with the right people, otherwise she was an actual bitch with all the sense of the words. 

Kagami’s thoughts where interrupted before they could get in the vehicle, with an audible cough calling their attention towards Kagami’s bag. 

“Trixx?” Kagami leaned closer, and the small fox creature appeared, purple eyes widened at the girls. 

“Something’s wrong.” He screeched, as if someone was physically hurting the kwami at that exact moment. “Can you feel it?” 

“What...” 

“Are you dying?” Chloé asked the question gently enough, but her narrowed eyes and suspicion lip twist was dubious. “Because I didn’t brought Pollen today for the same reason.”

"Wait, she's too?" The fox holder and the kwami questioned at the same time. 

“Yeah, ‘gamie. I almost wasn’t able to do Venom at that battle because of that.” Chloé’s expression saddened. “We should talk with Ladybug about this.” 

The noirette looked at her, and with an unsure gasp, tightened her hand on hers. “This isn’t an option. We will.” 

 

[•••]  

 

“Mme. Bishop told me you fell asleep during class. Is there something wrong, dear?” 

Laura felt her stomach roll with the question, eyes gazing Mme. Bustier with the best smile she could put in her face at the moment. They were sitting inside the teacher’s room, scattered papers and French textbooks alongside empty cups of coffee. One of them was being finished by Laura. 

“I apologize. I wasn’t able to sleep correctly last night.” Laura lied, shifting her eyes elsewhere. She didn’t saw Bustier give a surprised and confused frown, and it was better she didn’t. Kagami’s words were still hammering inside her head and there was no sleep deprivation that could stop her brain cells to work. 

“Teachers don’t even try to solve the conflict; they’ll just try to suffocate it until it dies.” 

All the kindness suddenly became fake. The twist on her lips became forces somehow, and all her moves seem to be purposely made to pacify everything. That was the power of the words, because they affect your perception of reality. 

No wonder why a lying girl got the spotlight in that place. Dupont's reality was ugly. 

“I think we can finish our lesson for this week. You did very good today, with only a few misses in grammar. Soon you’ll be one hundred percent fluent. Now please, take care of yourself this weekend, okay?” 

There was concern in the teacher’s eyes, yes. But it was impossible to swallow the situation at the moment. Bustier was a suspect. It was suffocating. Laura raised her head and nodded. In her soundless breath, there was a thank you ready to be said, but it wasn’t. In less of a minute she was gone, leaving everything but questions behind. Laura didn’t saw Bustier’s suspicion, and Caline didn’t saw Belrose’s relief. Mutual benefit for both. 

The last thing Laura wanted was feel impotent beneath a situation, but that was exactly how she’d felt every time Kagami’s voice appeared inside her thoughts, with the girl’s remarks about so many things inside Dupont and its students. It was a mess, a true mess. She couldn’t say she wasn’t thankful, because the bites were enough to make her understand the situation she accidentally got involved. 

Girl rivalry was something she’d loathed, but in some cases, it was not a cliché to hate a girl whose purpose is to ruin everything. If this wasn’t a nightmare, then it was a pretty terrible dream. 

The feeling tightened inside her chest, making the air thicker to breathe. She stepped outside with the umbrella in hands, heartbeats throbbing her head and starting to bring a headache. She needed to get away from there and head home as fast as possible. With the heels moving by themselves, the hurry to get inside the subway was turning her moves automatic. She crossed the street, ignoring the red sight. One car passed fast, but she was faster. 

Her eyes were wet. Were those tears? No, if she cried now, her mom would suspect something was wrong. She wiped out before they could come down, breathing hard to control herself. 

But it was just unfair! Marinette could be just a unknow girl that leaned her a hand to help, but she didn’t deserve to be snubbed by the school. Kagami made it very clear by her words that if it wasn’t for a few selected people Marinette would have been gone a long time ago, and she didn’t like the implications of the word, but maybe it would be actually better if Dupain-Cheng went away from that school. 

Fuck, she was angry for something she didn’t have any control over it, and she was  attacke d  because of it. If she scratched her because of sitting with Marinette for two days, what could she do next? 

Being incapable of help is the worst, isn’t it?

It was. Unbearable, again. She cared about people, and somehow for Marinette. She had a terrible mania of getting attached to people that did something good to her, indeed, but the situation was so specific that ignoring was not an option. 

Because caring about people leads to unwelcoming emotions.  

And unwelcoming emotions leads to unreasonable actions.

Laura stopped. The rain was pouring around her and lights were getting brighter at the background between the shadowy clouds. Wide gray eyes turned around to search for the owner of the voice, but the street was completely empty and the only people around were too far away to be talking to her. She was alone in that specific point, and there was no one else to respond to her. 

The voice was coming from inside her head. 

And it wasn’t her consciousness voice. 

Hello, Nemesis.

There was a sensation. No fairer to say that it wasn’t a good one. The voice suddenly melted inside her brain, as if their words were the only thing on her mind. The moist worlds around her went blank in an eye blink. Suddenly the thing that mattered was her and the voice. Her heels moved forward, in the same walk as every day's walk. 

But needless to say, her body felt faster than the Earth's moving.

“Who’s there?”

You may call me  Mayura.

Laura had to breath; it was becoming more complicated at each step. She could feel the adrenaline running through her veins, a sudden pump to give in. But give in for what? 

“Why are you inside my mind, Mayura?”

I am here to make a deal with you, Nemesis.

“My name is Laura.”

There was a chuckle. Not evil, but malicious  enough to make her shiver in fear, as if this was a simple conversation between them.

It is, for now.  

Belrose pulled her lips firmly and crossed her arm, body moving faster to reach the subway entry.  

“What do you want? Akumatize me?” Laura’s words were becoming whispers, as people would eventually be close to her at the station. She finally reached the underground stairs and was received with silence. “Answer.” 

I am not Papillion. My objective is far away from the Miraculous. They’re closer to you than anyone else, and thus I need your cooperation.  

This was only getting Laura more frustrated. She was supposed to be some type of super villain jumping around the city by now, instead she was having a weird mental conversation while getting into the metro. Was that another hallucination? Perhaps a dream while she unconscious on the ground after passing out. 

I am not a dream. I am the truth, and you’re my weapon.  

“Cut the talk already. What do you want with me?”

I want revenge.

Laura stopped before the platform. There was a crowd around her, completely oblivious from what was happening. The girl looked at both sides, catching no sigh of the train. Mayura was still there, and Laura could guess she was sharing her vision too by the pinch behind her eyes.

“You want me for revenge.”

It’s the only reason why I choose you, Nemesis.

Nemesis, the Greek Goddess of Revenge.

The name had a meaning.

I will guide you for the necessary. When the time arises, I’ll grant you the power to become Nemesis itself. Be ready.

And just as it came, it was gone.

Laura collapsed right into somebody else's body, almost fainting after being released from that energy. Mayura was gone for now, but Laura was still there, being surrounded by a wave of curious who almost saw a girl falling into the rails. Laura was able to recover—only enough so she could get the train ignoring all the stares and finally drag herself home.

To say that was the last time she’d heard Mayura would be a lie.

 

Chapter Text


 

“According to investigations, Papillon's true identity it’s not very far from your average Parisian middle age man. With Ladybug and Chat Noir’s outer encounters with the terrorist, face reconstruction became easier according to officials. Even with a full mask, it is possible to recognize him as a white, blue eyed man. A selected group is going through areas affect the most affected areas across the city to track his identity by matching his face with citizens that fits the characteristics said before—” 

With a tired sigh, Mlle. Belrose forcefully turned off the radio volume, static noises filling the Renaut Clio as the outside rain blurred the windows. The traffic extension was bigger than the most populated city she’d ever visited, and it was exhausting. Everything about Paris was exhausting, it almost looked like the city was build to drain energy from your body. The city, the bureaucracy, the work... Just exhausting.

Not more exhausting than seeing your daughter falling again. 

The woman’s umber eyes turned to glance at the figure hidden at the back seat. Laura was shrugged, her eyes missing the glow they previously had before the past week begin. Guilty was overgrowing inside her, busting in mumbled words that couldn’t be heard. She wanted so much to lock the registration and keep her child completely safe at home, but she isn’t able to do it. Miranda couldn’t hide the fact she was scared again for the same reason for too long. 

“Laura.”

The car stopped at the traffic red light. 

“Yes?” It was a delayed response. Laura was daydreaming, something she would often do to escape the conversation.

Or reality itself. 

“Are you feeling okay?” 

“Um, I am. I’m fine. Why?”

“You don’t need to lie to me, love.”

The older woman bit her lower lip. That was a lie. She knew that. Her eyes wouldn’t be watering if she didn’t feel that her daughter was lying. The gray eyes were staring from the reviewer mirror, seeing clearly the woman’s pained face.

The light went green.

“I’m not, mom, I swear. It’s been difficult, but not impossible. All schools suck anyway.”

No,  she wanted to say,  you’re doing it again.  Because Laura was starting to repeat old habits during the weekend. Sleeping late, hiding her web browsing data, messing with her eating schedule. The same stuff she did before the final straw at her old school. Exactly the same things. And everything was fine?

“I swear,” Laura smiled—a simple, closed smile. “you can trust me with this one.”

Oh, Miranda trusted her child. She knew that.

The problem was onto others.

 

 


Monday


 

 

The city of lights was painted in black and white, with tons of gray spread across the horizon. A dot of light was almost glimmering between the dark clouds, a weak approach that would never be possible to be fulfilled. A gloomy Monday was giving the exact same dead look to the place as before. 

Laura finally dared to look at the school after being dropped by her mother, who’s just really didn’t want to let her go at that day. She let out a heavy sigh and started to walk towards the stairs. If felt painful to hide her feelings from her mom, but oh it would be so strange to talk about what was really bothering her.

Right Mayura? 

That voice, that woman! Just like a ghost, Mayura was a haunting presence inside her consciousness, and always came up at the worst moments. Tempting her with the promise that everything would be better if she accepted her offer, but not exactly giving what the offer was. What was she suppose to do? She wouldn't say yes if that was the objective. And the worst part was that her willing to accept or deny was just as blurred as the morning was. 

Something was wrong, and breaking simultaneously, and she didn't knew what it was. 

Between her thoughts, she found herself comfortable in the middle of the wave of students. Loud talks and random topics popping around and keeping herself as a nobody, the dark heels taking her straight into the classroom with no interruptions whatsoever. 

And arriving there, she. 

“Oh, hey Laura.” Marinette waved; a corner of her mouth turned up as she was handing papers to Caline. Laura felt her heart skipping beats, and the memories from Friday flowed again. Her eyes glowed in a light blue shade. 

“Hey, good morning. Marinette, Mme. Bustier.” 

“Good morning, Belrose.” Bustier said with the same happy tone as always. “Are you feeling better?” 

“Yes,” she lied “I’ve took the care during the weekend.” 

“I’m so glad you did! Now please, go to your seat. Class is about to start.” With that, Laura glanced at Marinette, who only gave a nod and followed her until they reached the back. Laura glanced at Marinette again, checking the girl’s moves. 

Marinette was being extra careful with her belongings, almost as if she was about to be robbed and have them taken away. Her hands were trembling for some reason, and her skin was just so much paler than the usual. There was no pinkish blush at her cheeks, it almost gave the girl a sick look. She was also wearing a long-sleeved gray blouse under her brown Spencer, with no floral decorations in either of them. 

“Are you okay, Marinette?” 

That wasn’t a pleasant question, for sure. It sounded like a passive 'Marinette you don't look okay but I'm asking you because I was well raised and I kinda worried about you' question. Dupain-Cheng probably took notice, as she immediately dropped a defensive posture and stared at her in shook. 

“What do you mean?” 

“I-I mean,” Laura sighed. That was a bad idea, but now she could not retreat. “You missed Friday and I don’t have your contact, so I got worried. And today you look very—” 

“I know, I know, I look depre—” 

“—tired.” 

Laura finished before realizing it was a different word. Marinette got her eyes up, suddenly studying her at the same way Laura's own gray eyes did. In a matter of second the suspicion grown up and went down. The worst part was that Marinette still had her lips curved, as if she still wanted to finish the sentence. Such situations were strange—making her anxious. Belrose could feel the breathless feeling crawling its way to her lungs once again with Marinette’s silence.

“You don’t need to talk about it.” The sudden change was surprising, but expected from Laura's exasperation. Marinette seemed relieved with that, so Laura decided to just forget about it and hope for the better. "It's okay."

The class started. Mme. Bustier was being a pain for no reason, with her waltzing around the students while lecturing about text she kept reading. The woman’s sweet gaze would often fall under Laura’s shoulders and all the questions were directed to her—the excuse was to ‘make her feel more welcome’, but it felt more of an annoyance than anything else. Laura cringed, Marinette flinched, Caline smiled and the whole class became an awkward mess looking at them for the entire period.

For her luck, classes were passing faster and suddenly they were at chemistry once again. 

Mme. Mendeleiev was, for sure, an eccentric teacher. Laura actually had a taste for her; she had no chill over other students and would call them out for whatever reason she wanted. She even smirked when the teacher called Alya for using the cellphone during class. Of course, she felt bad, but not enough. Why should she, after all?

“And as we can see in this picture of Shanghai, the huge mist surrounding the city’s landscape is actually a photo-chemical smog, with the yellow representing the amount of nitrogen dioxide in the air. It’s extremely toxic and can cause heavy damages to your health if your breath in.” 

“Poor people.” Marinette whisper was low to not call the violette’s attention, but Laura was the one who got an eye on her. The half-Chinese girl was venting for a time since the first period, talking to herself about something until it became loud enough to catch. “Hong Kong was filled with this when I went there.” 

“You visited Hong Kong?” Laura questioned in awe, taking the girl by surprise. “That’s nice. You have a family there?” 

“My mom’s side of the family during the break.” Marinette shrugged. “It was really nice, but the city was just like that.” 

 “Oh, I lived in one of them, too.” 

“Really?” 

São Paulo.” Laura nodded. “The place is heavily polluted because of the massive population. We lived there for a while, and that’d made me develop a kind of breathing problem when I was a kid.”

“Oh, I’m really sorry.” Marinette nodded.

"It’s all cool now, chillax.” 

The comment made Marinette go radio silent for the rest of the period, and Laura questioned once again if she said something wrong. The silence followed the break, where they shared a bunch of sweet croissants and chatted with some other classmates. Chloé was angry with her father, Sabrina was stressed with his father’s job, Juleka was being counselled by Nino and Nathaniel, and Adrien stared at Laura for ten minutes before heading home for the rest of the day. Everybody seems to be stressed out because of something and that was enough to take off her fear about being completely affected by Mayura. Maybe she lied to her mom to not make her worry or was more outspoken with Marinette, but it was okay. And about not feeling so much sympathy for the people she already had a distaste for? Nothing really serious at all.

Such thought came down faster than a lost bullet right at the next class.

History class was shared with some other students. That was something uncommon for Laura but it was actually nice to see.  After a week or so she was finally recognizing the patters, thus mashing up with the school’s rhythm. History class was the most pacific one, with M. Deschamps explanations and Marinette’s knowledge. Kagami was also there, sitting at the other side alone and watching them. So, there was Marinette, Kagami, but also there was– 

“Oh, Mlle. Rossi, I see you’ve decided to join our class at least.” 

The entire class turned to see the Italian girl  standing behind the door. She was smiling, but very reluctantly. She went ahead and gave the man a paper. “Sorry for being late, but I have a doctor’s note about and I promise it will not happen again.”

He raised a brow, but let her go. She nodded silent and sat next to Jeanne. The albino girl flinched, turning her face away from the brunette without exchanging any words. Misa missed school, making Jeanne upset and less enthusiastic about classes. The entire room's temperature was going faster as class started. Everything seemed to be a ticking bomb ready to explode.

"Alright, we still have free time to discuss about the group project. I'm working with Mlle. Bishop to help your grades, because apparently only a few people care about our lessons." His tone was extremely icy. "The new arrangement is now the new quo, so please pay attention to the list because I'm not repeating. Now, here we go: Jean with Meirelle and Kris, Kagami with Jeanne and Misa, Laura with–"

And at the exact moment, Lila raised her hand. 

“I would like to do my work with Laura, it that’s possible.” She tilted her head to the back seat, looking at Laura in the eyes and added, “Consider this as an apology.” 

"Excuse me?" She didn't even held back the hiss. Lila, that girl, had the audacity — the audacity! After everything! Laura gasped, not only in anger, but also scared. The young Belrose exchanged a look with a very surprised Dupain-Cheng, her face suddenly twisting in disgust. 

But then, her blood ran cold. 

“M. Deschamps, do I have the right to say no?” Louis narrowed his eyes, and nodded as he held the same blank face as the day she got injured. “Then I don’t.” 

“Well, with that being said, I suppose you will be with Marinette, as I planned.” Laura sighed in relief, being about to say something when again that voice interrupted. 

“I don’t get it.” 

“You get it.” Laura responded. Gasps filled the room, as if someone had said a heavy profanity out loud. “I don’t want to. Simple.” 

“You don’t need to be rude.” 

“I’m not being rude.” 

“I’m trying to be friendly.” Lila’s voice became tremble as her expression fell, but her gritted teeth didn’t lie her true intentions. “Why can’t we be friends?” 

“Okay. Still a no, though.” 

“But—” 

Deschamps was not having any of that. His gaze hardened towards Lila, who immediately shirked her shoulders when finally realizing that the pair of hazelnut eyes were right at her direction. “Mlle. Rossi, you’ve been back for less than five minutes and already making a scene. Please don’t make me call your mother once again for disturbing my class.” 

“I-I... Alright, M. Deschamps. I promise I’m not—” 

“I don’t want promises. I want actions.” He said it again, this time letting the annoyance escape between the words. “You're going to do your work alone.” 

“Wait, what?!” Lila jumped. “Y-You can’t do this!” 

“Yes, I can. Everyone else’s getting a pair, except you.” He narrowed his eyes. “I’ll also pass extra exercises if you keep interrupting my class—or any other class.” 

As the discussion shut down, Laura noticed the way her classmates were avoiding look at Lila after that, and the rest of the time became suffocating.  It came at the same moment, and the two girls stared at each other in the same second. Lila had sour face, drained from any friendly expression she was previously trying to make. Laura closer her eyes, shutting down for the rest of the class. 

 

The cherry red haired girl was screwed an she knew that.  

 

Laura opened her eyes, meeting with her own reflection trough the phone’s black screen before putting away at her backpack. With the final break the school day ended, and she found herself completely alone in the lockers room finally settling her things inside one of the cabins. It was weird to think about having a personal locker inside the school, she was very used to carry all her material inside her backpack anyway. After the incident with Lila, Belrose decided that it would be better to keep just keep emergency stuff inside only to avoid any stress in case of sabotage. She still didn’t trust the school to keep other kinds inside, because in one her jacket was still lost, and in two Lila could do something against her there. 

Oh, Lila. What the hell was wrong with that chick? It was so weird but yeah, she gets it. Entitled Mean Girl doing whatever to keep control. But why with her of all people? Laura didn't have a bone to pick up with her at all. It was because she was reasonable during the council meeting in the first place? If the initial feelings towards the girl were fear and unbelief, now it had turn to a numb kind of anger. First, it was an assault, then it became a conspiracy, and now what? A potential threat? At that point Laura could just snap and by that both cry or fight were on. If she sees the Italian girl one more time that day— “Hey, you!” 

Oh God it was the Devil herself again, coming at her with that same punch-able face. Laura didn’t even have a time to think before the rant begin. 

“Why are you doing this with me? I didn’t even touch you there. You need to stop exaggerating with such stupidity.” Lila huffed, tears welling at the tip of her eyes. “Don’t pretend things to make me the enemy.” 

Do it.  

“I’m not pretending anything.” Laura unzipped her backpack, taking her phone with her. 

“You are.”

“Alright then.” She tapped a button, and the red signal appeared on the screen. Disguising with a social media scroll, she kept on. “Tell me, after you hit me for no reason and take me out, how can I be the one exaggerating things?” 

“Why? I’ll tell you why.” Lila huffed. “Because I know that your health isn’t the best, and I was trying to help you. I'm not the type of person that abused debilitated people. So, it doesn’t surprise me that you’d fainted after a pat and hallucinated the things I said. It was all inside your head, and no testimony can prove the contrary.” 

“Oh my—” Belrose snorted, completely disbelieved with the words. “I don’t know if your nails are actually craws but you actually hurt me. How dare you say that it wasn’t when you did it? I have photos to prove it from the camera apparently, and witnesses. My version fits with Marinette and M. Deschamps’. I’m not even going to question how did you found about my medical files, are you stupid or what?” 

“A what! You never gave me the chance to talk and acted in a bitchy way towards me and my friend! You’ve been here for less than a week and ruined so many things you—” the girl held her breath, hard. “Bitch!” 

“Language.” Laura sighed; gray eyes narrowing in pure judgement. “I’m not your friend for such intimacy, so hold your language while speaking with me.” 

If glares could speak as words, Laura would probably be the one saying low offenses, maybe more. She turned and started to walk away, ignoring the anger coming from the brunette, until it happened. 

“How dare you! You aren’t the one with the authority in this situation! I am!” Lila growled, stamping one foot on the floor. Laura stopped, feeling a sharp pang inside her heart suddenly making her shudder in pain. She turned to face the chestnut brown-haired girl with crossed arms and puffed red face. A dark, purple energy was crossing the veins next to her eyes and forehead. Laura felt her fingers trembling against her will, twisting as the brunette started to approach. “I am the one in control here.” 

Run.  

Laura instinctively brought her belonging to her chest, a sharp breath of shock coming out of her throat. “Don’t come any closer or I’ll report you to M. Deschamps.” 

Lila’s laugh was actually sickening to hear. 

“Good luck trying to get the pedo’s approval. Honestly, for a newbie you are actually a really interesting person. I wonder if there’s something more than just an asthma issue like the documents said...” Her lips twisted wide, and her eyes lit up with no life whatsoever. 

Rossi gave a step. And another. And just as she was about to raise her hands to catch her, a slam took her back. Laura gasped, almost stumbling on their own feet. Lila let out a painful cry before hitting the floor disorientated, collapsing immediately. Laura let a breath out and looked at the pair of books at the hands of the attacker, a mist of relief and surprise to see Marinette herself being the one. She took Laura by hand to get out of the scene, passing by the lockers in silence and going out to the exit in hurried steps. The half-Chinese girl was saying something, but suddenly Laura couldn't hear anymore. Her mind was straight up going into a downward spiral, vision blurring in watery thoughts.

She only held her hand tight, and let herself go.

 

Chapter Text

 


 

 

The moment her brain decided to shut down was so abrupt, because in one minute she was being dragged by Marinette to get out of the locker room, and in another she was standing in front of nowhere unable to feel anything. Not saying she passed out, because the world around her was still moving even if she wasn’t. It was palpable, but there was no feeling in. Numb. That was the word. And even when a force moved her, she remained out and only felt the cold breeze around. 

Her face was drained, her eyes blank and blue. Staring at nothing, she felt something was wrong and yet became unable to think about it. Was that even real? All the touch, her moves—her own breath. It didn’t feel real. Time stood still, and she wasn’t moving with it. How did she get there? Why was she moving—why was she not moving anymore? There was a thing, no, a person holding her? No, there was no one. It couldn’t be. 

“Laura, can you hear me?” There was a voice in the distance, a very familiar voice. Her head turned around but there was nothing she could focus on. Everything was frozen in her place. A sudden warmth on her hands and a sweet flavor became testable but impossible to recognize. “You’re going to be okay.” 

And by the end of the words, the world shattered around her, and she found herself in a black space with no one except her. No, not her. She wasn’t there. Laura couldn’t feel herself. Her body, it was divided in pieces, all too far away from her. It was strange—or not? Her eyes kept open, there was something in front of her but nothing at the same time. 

A hand, blue as a shiny sapphire, open and waiting for a response.

She wasn’t able to reach. 

 

[•]  

 

 

For all over Paris, the best place to catch a delicious treat and chill over was Tom & Sabine Boulangerie Patisserie, a renowned bakery with the best service available, working at full speed to give the best treatment to clients. That’s because there was a strong bond of love between the owners, the couple whom started it all. They were trying their best to keep it up with the tends, with the warnings, and with the gossips going around. 

“So, a student was suspended a week ago for assault.” Sabine Cheng repeated the sentence slowly, trying to track her mind again. She frowned, looking back from the cash register to face her husband, who was picking up two sacks of flour with his bare arms. He had the same unsurprising expression as hers, fully synchronized. 

“It happened last week, so at this point it’s not really news.” Tom Dupain complemented, going back to the kitchen, but still talking. The rest of the staff was busy outside with the ingredients, allowing them both to put a more serious tone into the conversation. “But from what it seems, it’s her again. This time she didn’t even hide her intentions.” 

“And with a new kid involved this isn’t going to end well.” She started to count the money, but her mind was elsewhere but counting. “Do you think is the same one Marinette mentioned before?” 

“I don’t have a doubt about it, there was only one new student around.” Tom replied with an angry assurance in his voice. “That girl is a complete nightmare. I already told the principal: if they mess with my Netta again I’ll sue them for real.” 

The Chinese woman shook her head. “After last year I doubt that such a woman wants to know about her child’s terrible behavior—” She stopped with a frown, taking off her phone from her pocket. “Wait, it’s Marinette. Hello?” 

“Maman, can you pick me up right now? Please?” Sabine gasped. It was obvious to hear the girl’s trembling voice from the other side.  

“Dear, calm down. I’m sending Papa, alright?” Sabine looked at Tom, her eyes closing in confirmation to his very same thoughts. “Where are you?” 

“Next to the stairs, inside the school.” 

“Okay, we're going now.” The call ended at the same second. Sabine tried to held her shaken breath, but it was impossible. She said nothing more after that, because her husband was already heading to the outside with no other word. 

“Here we go again.” 

 

[ •• ]  

 

Marinette was trying to hold back the tears, at least until there was nobody to see her crying. 

It happened again, she kept saying, it happened fucking again. And God, she was so fed up with that. And tired. And sad. And angry. Sad-angry-tired. All at once. 

Her body was no longer burning, the adrenaline now giving the place to the same cold fatigue that’ll soon make her get heavily emotional—if she wasn’t already. The girl let out a sigh for finally being out of vision for the remaining students, seeing they would not pass towards them to see what was going on. Holding her phone at her chest, she remembered It was going to be alright, they’ll will be here in less than a minute, guarantee.  

Marinette turned to aid the other girl, who was too quiet. Frowning, she saw how uncharacteristic her posture was, holding her backpack with a certain exaggeration. The noirette placed a hand on the girl’s shoulder, only to be met with a blank expression. Her eyes darted around before she could have an entire vision, and soon the figure going around holding a white apron approached them. 

“Marinette!” Tom’s voice brought a huge relief to the girl. She didn’t even hesitate to jump right into his arms and let out a pained sob. “What happened?”  

“It was Lila again. She–She did again! But not me–she tried to attack her and I, I just! I actually don’t know what happened with me to do it but I just grabbed the books and threw it. She fell and I got her out, and I don’t know what to do and—” 

“Marinette.” His voice wasn't enough to bring back her attention. When he squeezed her shoulders, she hitched. Tom was holding a very serious, yet careful posture, knowing exactly how to track her attention. He gave her a minute to pause and breath, allowing the girl to calm herself. “You defended your friend. It’s okay. Now we need to take care of her.” 

Marinette rushed to Laura immediately. She needed to bring the girl back to reality, because for the moment Marinette herself was not really there. It was then she realized something wrong. Not with her expression or anything, but with the girl’s eyes. 

They were blue. A deep, icy blue shade covering the gray Iris, almost glowing right in front of her in all the details. It was almost the same as an Amok, but she wasn’t transformed into one, so how could her eyes...? 

“Papa, we have to take her home.” 

  

[•••]  

 

It was night when Laura finally returned to her senses. 

Marinette was just finishing another cup of tea at the kitchen, being more relieved than anything else. For what her parents described, it was a really severe case of dissociation, in which she couldn’t see anything from there, even if her body was doing so. They only knew about it because Marinette herself had some cases around. Such information led the half-Chinese girl to flinch and stay alert for the rest of the day, afraid and worried. Afraid because she could have another similar case if the situation goes bad, but worried because, well, blue eyes were not included in the symptoms. 

Marinette wished she could’ve done more to help, but for the first time in ages she saw herself in a situation where just stand and not doing anything was not the best alternative. At least she called Mme. Belrose to warn her about the situation—and met her for the second time and realize that yes, it was a good idea that she didn’t stayed at the principal’s office after being dismissed. The woman was really worried with her daughter, almost in Akuma level of worry. The last time she recollected seeing a parent like this was when... 

Okay, she didn’t want to remember that event again. She had already cried too much during such a small amount of time, her eyes were still puffy and it hurts to blink even now.

“Mmh...” The grunt coming from the living room made her heart skip a beat. Looking over the balcony she saw the very confused image of the brown girl standing in the middle of the room, completely confused and wandering around with no sense. Marinette slowly put the empty cup at the sink bottom, rushing to her side carefully so she doesn’t scare the girl. “Ai...” 

“Hey...” The girl said something, a question perhaps, but Marinette wasn’t able to understand any of the words said. Being helpless, she guided the other to sit back at the sofa she’s being laying down since arriving at the Dupain-Cheng residence. With a slight turn of head, confirming that the eyes were now back to the deep gray color, Marinette allowed herself to get closer. “It’s me, Marinette.” 

Each second passing was almost torturing, but soon enough—with patience, very confused glances and another cup of tea—Laura was at least vivid again. The first question in French was very direct, “What time is it?” 

“Eight o’clock. It’s night already.” 

“What? No...” The girl frowned, then started to gesture with her hands. “It’s still daytime... We were at the school hall, and Lila was- Urgh, the brat. But it’s not so late.” 

“You’ve been out for hours.” Marinette felt her heart sinking from inside. “It really was a dissociation. You can’t remember anything at all...” 

“I dissociate? No, I not.” She straightened, but soon fell to Marinette’s side. Her blinking indicating how much she was struggling with her focus, and soon their eyes met again, this time with more closure to each other, the tips of tears at the corner of Marinette’s puffy red eyes became a little too obvious. Laura felt her entire mind backtrack. “Are you crying?” 

“What? No! No, no, it’s just- it’s a really bad allergy I got before you went here, I mean there! I was like this since, I mean, it’s not crying, it’s just a reaction to, I mean…” Marinette tried to shrug the question away, but pause as soon as she realized she was stuttering in front of someone again. Gasping, she jumped from the sofa and went back to the kitchen, setting up two cups of tea without looking back. 

Laura had her fingers crossed between her locks, legs trembling and eyes still darting the place in doubt. For her, she just blinked being inside the school and now she was at her partner’s home. “Droga...”  

A tap made her turn again to Marinette, who was holding two white cups filled with hot tea. “Look, I didn’t mean to do that, or any of that.” Marinette started, “I just heard Lila saying those things, and I couldn't bare just letting it happen because—"

“—Because she did the same with you. She harassed you last year and she hates you ‘till today, and now I am a target because we are together at the tables.” Laura said in conclusion, slower than she intended. From the side point, it was so obvious Marinette was crying before, and that the memories were more than just bad, but straight up painful. “Do not apologize.” 

Marinette gasped, “How- How did you know that?” 

“Kagami.” 

Kagami. Of course, she would do something like this. It’s so obvious. The pale girl looked back at her hands, seeing she was still holding the cups. She gave one to Laura and sip hers to fast, burning her lip as result. “Ah, what a mess. This, you. None of this should be happening in the first place.” 

“How did it happen?” 

Marinette looked at Laura, realizing how the girl's gray eyes were staring at her with a mix of empathy with something else. She was drinking the tea—straight up drinking, even with it being burning hot. 

Laura straightened, “Marinette, since I arrived to school I have been put in these middle conversations and half answers. Adrian, Kagami, Lila! I need to know at least why this demon is hunting me. You don’t need to, but just a simple explain is enough.” 

Dupain-Cheng bit her lip, uncertain. She was honestly thankful to Kagami for giving the girl a better view, but it was not enough. At least not enough after today. “Your right. I mean, that’s the least I can do. To inform you why. I should've have told you earlier, but I thought...” 

The noirette simply exhaled.  

Here goes nothing.  

“It all started last year. Well, Lila was the new student just like you, and she wanted attention. So, she decided to tell blatant false stories about the things she’d done before: meeting Jagged Stone and Prince Ali, being Ladybug’s best friend, and similar. All these over the top lies to get clout. The reason why I got angry at the first time it was because she was using such lies to get close to a boy I liked, but soon I was able to see that it wasn’t a silly jealousy, but the fact Lila was a pathological liar. The girl lies in the same way she breathes, and the worse part was that she never stops. She even claimed being a hero using a fake jewelry and—”

"Wait, hold up." Laura scratched her head, very slowly. Marinette was talking fast, but too fast, and Belrose was not at the best state to collect so many information so quickly. In a pause, she asked, “She lied about all these things at once, and people believed her regardless?” 

“They took it as the only truth in existence, but I don’t blame any of them for that. Chloé is the mayor’s daughter, so she can brag about knowing all these famous people. Adrien is a model, and his father a business man and a living fashion icon, just like Chloé's mom is!" she explained. "Even I know some celebrities, I mean, I designed a lot of outfits for Jagged Stone and we all are in the same school, so it’s a plausible reach if she says “Oh, my mother is a diplomat, and she knows a lot of people!” Marinette mimic was filled with irony and her gritted teeth showed her clear frustration.

“But she could've at least said the right things! Because Jagged never have a kitten, she has never met Prince Ali, and either went to Achu to spend vacation with him! Oh, and she's also had never been at Machu Picchu* like she's claimed, and she hates Ladybug! Everything she says, it's the exact opposite!”

Laura stared at her in a very uneasy way, narrowing her eyes. “This is very specific.” 

“I guess so. But that's not the point, because those lies were told later." Marinette explained. "What happened at that first day was that Ladybug confronted her in front of the boy I liked and... Just vanished for the rest of the year until after summer break. I mean, she did return between this period, but it was during Heroes Day, also akumatized.” 

Here’s one thing: the last’s year French Heroes Day was a worldwide news event. Paris was already bragging about having real superheroes to make the holiday an even bigger event and oh so special, so no surprise everyone went apeshit when the footage of Ladybug killing Chat Noir appeared at the French live television. EU considered invading the country in a matter of minutes and many others threatened to use military force all over the day until suddenly everything was solved with Ladybug's magic, as always. 

Laura remember the entire day with her eyes glued on television during those broadcast hours, her only form of entertainment during the time. Discovering Marinette was there during all these events — wouldn’t she be afraid to tell such things? The noirette was so convicted while speaking even if she was holding back tears. And Lila was between the akumas. All of this suddenly made her stomach ache, because it felt...Weird. 

“We learned this with Sabrina, who was 'kinda warned about it when she was free from Papillion’s influence. She told us very later and too late, however.” 

“Too late?” Laura asked, sipping more of the tea. “What happened to be too late?” 

“I know! It’s too long, but I need to set things up because out of the context it’s too absurd! It’s almost unreal and it makes me very... Anyway, after Heroes Day, she came back. She faked being ill to move the seats and put me in the back, just so she could stay by the boy’s side, and nobody asked permission to me. And there was Alya, who shrugged me aside saying I was just jealous, ignoring my feelings and what I was really thinking. I was so angry by that–” 

Laura cut in, “Is the boy Adrien?”

Marinette was taken aback, and yelped. Her eyes widened and shoulders jerked, but she was quick to recompose her posture. "I mean, he was but- wait, how did you know?” 

“I mean.. He’s a model. Famous. Creepy too. And he seems to care about you... Kind of. Just connected the dots.” She waved. “But do you still like him?” 

“Well... Not anymore. We're still friends, though.” Marinette said with a sweeter tone, and that didn’t go unnoticed by Laura, but again, she changed completely to keep talking. “But this actually still bothers me. Last week I was so busy with the preparations for the ball, and things were going so well until Lila put another lie about an Antarctica trip using some fake photos and now people are actually considering her idea and give the money to her! Argh!” 

And with that Marinette completely jumped from the topic, now going about the headache that was the Winter Ball. Laura tried to intervene but seeing the girl’s frustration was a bother for many reasons. The entire ball discussion was the reason why she was there in the first place. Who knows? Maybe if she didn’t go to the councils' reunion that would have never happen. 

But it also brought so many doubts. “I’m more trustworthy than you will ever" was the very thing Lila said during while arguing with Marinette. Why would she say that? And even more, some students congratulated Rossi for apologizing after the tantrum. It was unfair. Laura wanted to do something to help, anything that would take off such weight from Mari’s shoulders. 

Then an idea came. 

“Excuse me, Marinette?” A woman came in holding a tray filled with some treats. When she saw Laura by her side, a warm smile filled her face. Given her appearance, she was obviously Marinette’s mom. “Oh, dear, it’s so good to see you’re awake. I was so worried. All of us were. Thankfully your mother is with us and—” 

A shriek filled the room. Two, actually. One was filled with worry and relief, and came before the other, which was made of pure embarrassment. Marinette stared at her mother, completely confused with the scene of a woman twice her height was almost strangling Laura in a hug. Sabine waved it off, still smiling. Before Marinette could say anything, Sabine simply delivered the news. 

“We’ve found our new lawyer, netta.”

 

Chapter Text

 Tuesday  

 

 

Marinette was very cautious when she arrived at school next morning, but part of her knew it would be mostly fine. The yard was almost empty, only a few students holding their umbrellas and chatting around, but not so excitedly as yesterday. Of course, this was because of the false Akuma alert that rang at late night, and most people were probably afraid of coming out in the morning. But, truth to be told, Marinette was just glad Lila was not around, because that meant one less headache to deal with. 

She put her scarf down and looked at her hands, touching her fingertips carefully; pale and cold, such as her entire state. Marinette forgot to bring her gloves, too spaced out around yesterday events to even remember such triviality. The cold couldn’t bother her after blurting out so much of her personal life to a stranger in such short amount of time. While it felt as a self-invasion of privacy, it also did feel compelling. Compelling, for just saying about her problems without being judged by others at the same spot. 

And it was so strange because she felt safe while talking. So much she almost cried of frustration. Damn, the velvet girl even realized about her old crush on Adrien and got suspicious about the specific details about Lila’s lies. Laura was just that  that  fast to get into the point while also reading the underlines. And Marinette would’ve have probably said more if her parents didn’t interrupt. She would just keep rumbling and rumbling, saying more about the frustrating situation that took so much from her life. 

And Laura would listen to her. 

Her thoughts drifted away with another harsh breeze crossing her neck, making her instantly regret taking off the scarf. For the weather, it was the same from yesterday. Clouds blocking the sun and a cold breeze moving the brown leaves away. It would not change until the last days of autumn, apparently, and it was just a warning about how winter would be the coldest in years. 

The only students who went to school were already in the classroom. In defeat, Marinette tried to focus on the day. "Just stay calm and think about making today a good day!” , the sweet small voice said over her left ear. Maybe she could do this. It was probably easier than her mind was tricking her to think. 

When she finally entered the room, Marinette’s eyes went wide. There was only one student right at the middle of the arrangement seats, with legs spread above the table and arms crossed over their head. 

“Alix.” The name came somehow louder than her intended whisper, and the pink haired girl obviously took notice. The shades of blue found each other very awkwardly as the ravenette made her way to sit at the same table. There was only five minutes left until the bell rang again, so it was safe to say they were the only ones to be present that day. 

“Ey.” Kubdel finally greeted, acknowledging her existence in the room. With an disguised sniff, the girl started a kind of conversation. “It’s been a rough week, right?” 

“Don’t say it...” Marinette swallowed, staring at her phone now. “I can’t even...” 

“I can. Last week was a blast.” 

Marinette stayed silent, only listening as Alix started to rant about the most recent incidents through the days. She didn’t really care about anything relating to most of the school, for her it was only a part of life she had to carry on for one more year. It was so disappointing, because at some moment in the past she would be really excited to hear about Kubdel’s nonstop ramblings about life and sports. Now, it just felt dim. 

Shit, she knew Alix was by her side, but she couldn’t help. Not after what happened. She was not ready  yet . Her shoulders flinched when she felt a hand touching her back, only to see Alix staring at her with a frown. 

“No, relax. I know you were not listening. I just needed to said those things aloud. You know, since I don’t really interact anymore. I’m just glad you were the one here for that.” The pinkish girl said, taking Marinette completely aback. “I know we’re not really close, and I’m sorry for that.” 

Marinette felt her heart dwell. If moments could kill, others could revive. This was their first decent conversation in months, and Kubdel was spilling all the beans without any other warning. “Alix...” 

“I mean, it was really a shitshow after everything. You know? Many of them are just following her today because they refuse to accept guilt or shame or simply still believe in everything, but that’s not really the point.” She shook her head. “I just can’t believe I lose my best friends because of this.” 

Now that Marinette notice, her eyes were puffy red. With a shy sniff, she added, “It’s seven in the morning and I want to cry my guts out.” 

“Alix, it’s–” 

“I know you’re about to say that it’s okay, but it’s not. It really isn’t.” Alix gave a very dry laugh tahat made Marinette choke at her own breath, because yes, that’s exactly what she would say at any other moment. “This entire madness should’ve have stopped a long time ago.” 

“And why are you doing this now?” Marinette couldn’t help but narrow their eyes. “Why are you only saying this to me now?” 

“Because I’ve been thinking about it since the moment that outsider arrived at the class last week.” Alix said, raising her hat so they could both see each other’s expressions perfectly. “She went straight to you, didn’t take Lila’s words seriously and made more damage in two days than anything that happened through the last year.” 

“Perhaps.” 

She sighed. “I think that all I’m saying is already old news for you, isn’t it? You rescued her, after all.” 

“B-But It was– It was not a rescue.” Marinette cursed herself for stuttering. “I did my part as class president.” 

“Oh, and taking care of her counts as just part of the job?” Alix quirked an eyebrow, and her eyes catches the soft blush that spread through the Half-Chinese's girl very pale skin for a very good second. Alix was not experienced in romance. Heck, she didn’t even have the feelings to get into one. She was fine the way she was, but living in a world where love was everyone’s favorite concept made her learn many kinds of information. She could recognize when someone had a change of heart from afar, because love had its ways. 

“Don’t worry, any confession dies here.” 

Alix saw the way her lips wobbled, as if words were suddenly lost from her vocabulary. She gabbled a bit, unsure of how to answer or keep the conversation. The way she hugged herself, trying to disguise how protective she was to her arms and failing. And it was obvious for her to see when someone had an internal dilemma. When something was not right. It was interesting, but torturous. Having so many misadventures with the class made her learn the patters, and it was strange to see Marinette starting one once again. 

It was not the same and not as fast as before either, but if it was something then it was already worthy. 

But such moments can’t last forever. Not when you live in Paris.  

At the moment Marinette was ready to finally say, the door slammed open and revealed the orange and black shaped fox hero stepping inside the class and demanding the two to get out with a sharp tone. Their tone was different from before and it didn't passed unnoticed. However, there was no time to question when the other few presents students were standing at the door waiting for them. They both exchanged looks, desperation and annoyance coming from each of them, mixed with the unluckiest realization of the day. 

“There’s an Akuma on the loose.”